Text Art: Sculpting Your Thoughts with Networks

The origin of the word “text” is from the Latin “texere”, “to weave”. So when we write or speak we are weaving the threads of meanings, associations, and poetry.

InfraNodus can be used to visualize the structures that we create with language using the "Abstract Visualization" app. It uses network visualization to represent the text you add via the editor or the voice-to-text input as a graph where the nodes are the words and their co-occurrences are the connections between them. Instead of showing the names of the nodes, this InfraNodus app will only show the relations between the words, so you can see an abstract view of the relations that exist in your text.

What you will notice is that different types of texts will have different structures. For example, prose and coherent writing tends to be more interconnected, while poetry tends to be more dispersed. You can see it on the graphs below:

Prose tends to be more connected and coherent: this is how we make sense with language.

Text Sculpture

Poetry tends to be more dispersed. The meaning is not so dense, the gaps between the concepts reveal the emotions.

Text network art

This approach can be very interesting for artists, creative professionals, and writers who are looking to represent ideas in a visual way. For example, a publishing house Circadian is using those graphs to illustrate every book they publish in order to show how the different text book structures look like.  

How to Create and Export Your Text Art Images?

Activate the "Abstract Visualization" app using the Diamond icon in the right menu or from the Apps section of InfraNodus. You might also want to change the Settings: dark background works the best, but you can play around with different color and contrast settings (there are plenty).

Then simply start typing or activate the microphone for voice-to-text input. It's a pleasure to watch your thoughts take shape: very fascinating and inpiring. Enjoy!

To export your data, click the Analytics pane and then PNG to save it as an image. You can also export the graph in GexF format and then use Gephi open-source free visualization tool to create high-resolution images for large-format print.

Artwork 1: Sculpting with Language: An Interactive Installation


In this live interactive installation the audience is invited to enter the space and to say something into the microphone. What they say is recognized as a text and converted into a network, following text network analysis algorithm, visualizing it on a graph, which is projected on the wall. The more people say into the microphone, the more they can see how they weave together a common entity, which consists of the traces of meaning that they collectively create.

Artwork 2: Live Visualization of Poetry

You can read poetry and visualize it at the same time, and record the process of visualization using the screen capture.

Artwork 3: Text to Music via the MIDI Interface

InfraNodus has a MIDI interface (in/out) built in, which means you can receive sound signals and convert them into the network. You can also do the other way round: every time a new statement is added and visualized a sound is going to be played.

Together with NSDOS we used this feature during one of the live concerts. We had a screen split in two: one side were the videos of the nature made by NSDOS during his residency at Alaska, the other side was InfraNodus. Dmitry was typing in what he could see on the video. Every sentence was visualized as a graph and the new network formation would then send a MIDI signal to Teenage Engineering OP-1 device, which would then play the sound every time a new idea is added into the graph.

Try It Yourself

If you are interested to use these features, you can activate the Abstract Visualization app and start sculpting your text. If you would like to activate the MIDI feature you can do so in Settings. It is possible to choose the channels and the specific devices, if needed. Different color themes are available for the visualization in the Settings panel.

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