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»VERBARIUM«
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© 1999, Christa SOMMERER & Laurent MIGNONNEAU

Keywords

  • aesthetics
    • acoustic
    • affective
    • anamorphic
    • animated
    • anthropomorph
    • assembled
    • automated
    • autopoietic
    • collaborative
    • contextual
    • cybernetic
    • disgusting
    • documenting
    • duplicated
    • dynamic system
    • ephemeral
    • experimental
    • found object
    • generative
    • gustatory
    • hypermediacy
    • illusionary
    • immaterial
    • immersive
    • installation-based
    • interactive
    • intermedial
    • intervention
    • mobile
    • modular
    • multi-user
    • multiple
    • narrative
    • navigable
    • networked
    • olfactory
    • panoramatic
    • performative
    • polysensory
    • processual
    • projected
    • real-time
    • remediated
    • remixed
    • sculptural
    • site-specific
    • sonification
    • sublime
    • tactile
    • telematic
    • three-dimensional
    • time-based
    • uncanny
    • virtual
    • visual
  • genre
    • Bio Art
      • Genetic Art
      • Transgenic Art
    • Database Art
    • Digital Activism
    • Digital Animation
    • Digital Community (Social Network)
    • Digital Graphics
    • Game Art
    • Glitch Art
    • Hybrid Art
    • installation
      • interactive installation
      • performative installation
      • sound installation
      • Virtual Reality
        • Augmented Reality
        • Mixed Reality
    • Nano Art
    • Net Art
    • Performance
      • Computer performance
      • Happening
      • multimedia performance
      • sound performance
      • video performance
    • robotics
    • Telematic Art
  • subject
    • ART AND SCIENCE
      • algorithm
      • anthropology
      • archaeology
      • artificial intelligence
      • astronomy
      • biology
      • botany
      • cartography
      • code
      • combinatorics
      • cyberspace
      • database
      • documentation
      • evidence
      • experiment
      • geography
      • geometry
      • history of science
      • humanities
      • library
      • light
      • machine
      • mathematic
      • medicine
      • microscopy
      • nanotechnology
      • neuroscience
      • philosophy
      • physics
      • psychology
      • Representation of knowledge
      • research
      • science
      • scientific image
      • space
      • statistics
      • stereoscope
    • ARTS AND VISUAL CULTURE
      • allegory
      • animation
      • architecture
      • art history
      • art market
      • beauty
      • cinema
      • Concept Art
      • conservation
      • dance
      • expanded cinema
      • fashion
      • gaze
      • grid
      • illusion
      • literature
      • mask
      • materiality
      • mirror
      • model
      • museum
      • music
      • nude
      • panopticon
      • panorama
      • personification
      • perspective
      • poetry
      • projection
      • representativeness
      • shadow
      • sketch
      • spectator
      • symbolism
      • theatre
      • Theory
        • complexity
        • media theory
        • modernism
        • postmodernism
        • poststructuralism
        • semiotics
        • simulacrum
      • virtuality
      • visual culture
    • BODY AND HUMAN
      • agency
      • anatomy
      • body
      • breathing
      • cybersex
      • cyborg
      • death
      • disease
      • dream
      • embodiment
      • empathy
      • expression
      • eye
      • facial expression
      • fantasy
      • feeling
        • affect
        • emotion
      • gender
      • genetics
      • gesture
      • hand
      • human
      • identity
      • intimacy
      • movement
      • pain
      • perception
      • performativity
      • physiognomy
      • posthuman
      • self awareness
      • senses
      • sexuality
      • skin
      • speech
      • surgery
    • HISTORY AND MEMORY
      • ancestor
      • antiquity
      • archive
      • artifacts
      • collective memory
      • colonialism
      • cultural heritage
      • historical site
      • historism
      • history
      • meme
      • memorial
      • modern era
      • nostalgia
      • postcolonialism
      • preservation
      • romanticism
      • teleology
      • tradition
    • MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION
      • access
      • advertising
      • Big Data
      • broadcast
      • commerce
      • communication
      • electronic media
      • error message
      • film
      • global village
      • hypertext
      • information
      • intermediality
      • internet
      • language
      • media archaeology
      • open source
      • print media
      • radio
      • search engine
      • social media
      • telecommunication
      • telephone
      • television
      • video surveillance
      • visualisation
      • writing
    • NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT
      • agriculture
      • animal
      • anthropocentrism
      • atmosphere
      • catastrophe
      • DNA
      • earth
      • ecosystem
      • energy
      • environment
      • evolution
      • four elements
      • geology
      • global warming
      • globe
      • landscape
      • magnetism
      • nature
      • ocean
      • outer space
      • physical law
      • plant
      • pollution
      • sustainability
      • vegetation
      • water
      • weather
    • POWER AND POLITICS
      • authority
      • banking
      • censorship
      • conspiracy
      • democracy
      • discrimination
      • economy
      • equality
      • geopolitics
      • governance
      • heroism
      • human rights
      • imperialism
      • institution
      • law
      • manipulation
      • market
      • military
      • nationalism
      • patriarchy
      • politics
      • sovereignty
      • surveillance
      • terrorism
      • violence
      • warfare
    • RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY
      • afterlife
      • Alchemy
      • bible
      • church
      • creation
      • crucifixion
      • esoterism
      • exodus
      • heretic
      • legend
      • mysticism
      • myth
      • mythological creature
      • mythology
      • paradise
      • religion
        • buddhism
        • christianity
        • islam
        • judaism
      • ritual
      • sacrifice
      • Saint
      • sin
      • spirituality
      • vision
      • worship
    • SOCIETY AND CULTURE
      • activism
      • capitalism
      • civilisation
      • community
      • consumption
      • counterculture
      • digital identity
      • diversity
      • ethnicity
      • feminism
      • globalization
      • individuality
      • information society
      • interculturalism
      • mass
      • mass culture
        • entertainment
        • parody
        • phantasmagoria
        • popular culture
        • spectacle
      • migration
      • minority
      • morality
      • native
      • otherness
      • participation
      • poverty
      • privacy
      • racism
      • territory
      • unemployment
      • urban space
      • voyeurism
      • wealth
      • working class
    • TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
      • artificial life
      • cybernetics
      • development
      • digitization
      • electricity
      • emulation
      • engineering
      • history of technology
      • innovation
      • intelligent environment
      • invention
      • mechanics
      • military technology
      • mobility
      • nonhuman communication
      • optics
      • product design
      • production
      • robot
      • simulation
      • supercomputing
      • technophobia
      • telematics
      • telepresence
  • Technology
    • Display
      • Electronic displays
        • BOOM (Binocular Omni-Orientation Monitor)
        • CAVE (Computered Augmented Virtual Environment)
        • computer monitor
        • Electromechanical Display Device
        • Electronic Paper
        • flashlight
        • Head-up Display
        • Headphones
        • HMD (Head-mounted Display)
        • holography
        • laser
        • light-emitting diode
        • plasma
        • printer
        • projection screen
        • projector
        • robotic
        • speakers
        • VFD (Vacuum Florescent Display)
        • VRD (Virtual Retinal Display)
      • Non-electronic displays
        • body
        • Book
        • easel painting
        • globe
        • house wall
        • inflatable structure
        • mirror
        • paper
        • sculpture
        • shutter glasses
        • sofa
        • Somatosensory System / Tactile Feedback Technology
        • table
    • Hardware
      • camera
      • computer mouse
      • data glove
      • Joystick
      • MAC
      • Mobile Device
      • multi touchscreen
      • plotter
      • scanner
      • touchscreen
      • Video
      • Virtual Workbench
      • Virtuscope
      • webcam
    • interface
      • Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC)
      • biometrics
      • Body sensor
        • Body Tracking
        • brainwave sensor
        • breathing sensor
        • Breathing-Balance-Interface-Vest
        • Endoscope
        • eye scanner
        • facial recognition system
        • Motion Capture
        • positiontracker
        • retina scanner
        • Speech Recognition
        • step sensor
      • camera recording
      • electromagnetism
      • interactive media
        • Auditory User Interface (AUI)
        • Augmented Reality Interfaces
        • breath based communication
        • Internet of Things (IoT)
        • Ludic Interface
        • MR-based (Mixed Reality) Interaction
        • Multi-Modal Interaction
        • tactile user interfaces
        • Tangible Acoustic Interface
        • Tangible User Interface (TUI)
        • Voice User interface
      • Non-electronic interface
        • bike
        • doll
        • furniture
        • plant
      • Soundgenerating device
        • Audiotape
        • keyboard
        • microphone
        • musical instrument
        • RFID (Radio-frequency Identification)
        • Speech Recognition
        • syntheziser
        • telephone
        • Theremin
        • turntable
        • voice analysis
        • Voice User Interface (VUI)
      • virtual balance
    • Software
      • C++
      • CGI/Perl
      • CSS
      • Global Positioning System (GPS)
      • ISDN
      • Java
      • Linux
      • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
      • periscope
      • PHP
      • RFID (Radio-frequency Identification)
      • robotic interfaces
      • SGI Onyx2
      • softimage
      • software interface
      • Video
      • VRML
      • Wireless Sensor Network (WSN)
      • XML
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Information
Cite
X
Archive of Digital Art (ADA). “(collective) Sommerer / Mignonneau - »VERBARIUM«”. https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/verbarium.html (retrieved 2020-26-11). @online{ADAartistprofile, author = {Archive of Digital Art (ADA)}, title = {(collective) Sommerer / Mignonneau - »VERBARIUM«}, url = {https://www.digitalartarchive.at/database/general/work/verbarium.html}, urldate = {retrieved 2020-26-11}
Technology
Hardware
1 computer server with an internet static address
Internet connection
Interface
Web user interface (java and CGI)
Sending user’s text
Fetching 2D animation from server
Clicking on any pixels of the “forest” of forms recall its original text

Web server side:
Receiving text
Rendering the developing 3D form, sending each picture to the web interface
Sending the 3D form placed in front of the “forest” of forms
Software
3D forms generator algorithm (expandable branching structure)
Text to 3D form algorithm
3D Image Server (server side 3D rendering with CGI)
Descriptions & Essays
VERBARIUM is an interactive text-to-form editor on the Internet. At the VERBARIUM’s web site, on-line user can choose to write text messages and each of these messages functions as a genetic code to create a visual three-dimensional form. A special text-to-form editor ensures the genetic encoding of text characters (=letters) into design functions. It provides constantly new images that are not any more pre-defined by the artist but instead develop in real-time through the interaction of the user with the system. Each different message creates a different form. Depending on the composition of the text, the forms can either be simple or complex, or abstract or organic. All text messages together are used to build a collective and complex three-dimensional image. This image is like a virtual herbarium, composed of the various forms based on the different text messages (i.e., verbs), hence the name VERBARIUM. On-line users do not only help to create and develop this virtual VERBARIUM, but also have the option of clicking any part within the collective image to retrieve messages sent earlier by other users. CHRISTA SOMMERER & LAURENT MIGNONNEAU
Christa Sommerer 12-11-2020
Verbarium Concept

in IEEE Symposium on Visual Language (VL'99) Conference Proceedings, (Tokyo 1999), pp. 90-95.
reprint only with permission by the authors.

1. VERBARIUM - a verbal herbarium

In 1999 we developed a second work for the Internet using the idea of the text-to-form editor. This system is called VERBARIUM and was created for the Cartier Foundation in Paris. The web site can be found at:

http://www.fondation.cartier.fr/verbarium.html (Verbarium is unfortunately offline at the moment due to a service provider change)

This time on-line users can create forms and shapes directly in real-time by writing text messages with the web site’s interactive text editor. The site was created by using JAVA applet programming.

Each of the incoming text messages functions as a genetic code to create a visual three-dimensional form. Depending on the composition of the text, forms can either be simple or complex, abstract or organic. The form can be viewed by the user instantly at the left-side window of the web page ( Fig. 11). Additionally, all incoming text messages become part of a collective image that is displayed on the right side of the web page (Fig. 11). This collective image functions as a "virtual and verbal herbarium" (hence the name VERBARIUM) of forms composed and created through the different text messages (i.e., verbs). The text messages can be written in many languages: the instruction editor displays instructions in about 20 different languages.

1.1. VERBARIUM’s Text-to-Form Editor

Similar to the "Life Spacies" text-to-form editor, we link the characters and syntax of a text message to specific parameters in the forms’ design. This time the default form is a ring with 10 vertices. This ring can be extruded in x, y and z axes, and during the extrusion process the rings’ vertices can be modified in x, y and z axes as well. Through addition and constant modification of the ring parameters the whole structure starts to grow, branch and develop. Different possible manipulations, such as scaling, translating, stretching, rotating and branching of the ring and segment parameters creates diverse and constantly growing structures, as for example those shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12a shows the basic ring with 8 vertices and Figure 12b the extruded ring that forms a segment. Figures 12c and 12d show branching possibilities, with branching taking place on the same place (=internodium) (12c) or on different internodiums (12d). There can be several branches attached to one internodium. Figure 12e shows an example of segment rotation, Figure 12h the combination of rotation and branching. Figure 12f and 12g are different examples of scaling. In total there are about 50 different design functions, they are subsumed in the design function look up table (Fig. 13). These functions are responsible for "sculpting" the default ring through modifications of its vertex parameters.

function1 translate ring for certain amount (a) in x

function2 translate ring for certain amount (a) in y

function3 translate ring for certain amount (a) in z

function4 rotate ring for certain amount (b) in x

function5 rotate ring for certain amount (b) in y

function6 rotate ring for certain amount (b) in z

function7 scale ring for certain amount (c) in x

function8 scale ring for certain amount (c) in y

function9 scale ring for certain amount (c) in z

function10 copy whole segment(s)

function11 compose a new texture for segment(s)

function12 copy texture of segment(s)

function13 change parameters of RED in segment(s)texture

function14 change parameters of GREEN insegment(s)texture

function15 change parameters of BLUE in segment(s)texture

function16 change patterns of segment(s)texture

function17 exchange positions of segments

function18 add segment vertices

function19 divide segment in x to create branch

function20 divide segment in y to create branch

function21 divide segment in z to create branch

function22 create new internodium(s) for branch(es)

function23 add or replace some of the above functions

function24 randomize the next parameters

function25 copy parts of the previous operation

function26 add the new parameter to previous parameter

function27 ignore the current parameter

function28 ignore the next parameter

function29 replace the previous parameter by new parameter

...

function50

The translation of the text characters into design function values is done by assigning ASCII values for each text character according to the standard ASCII table shown in Figure 5. The assignment of random seed functions to the actual updated values for the design functions in the design function table is done in the same way as explained in Chapter 2.a and in the example of Fig. 6.

As a result, each individual text message will create a very specific three-dimensional structure that can at times look like an organic tree or at times more like an abstract form. Figure 14 shows another example of forms created by a text message, this time the text was written in French.

3.2. VERBARIUM’s virtual diary: retrieving texts from images

On-line users not only help to create images through text messages and thus develop the complexity of the virtual VERBARIUM, they also have the option of clicking any part within the collective image to retrieve messages sent earlier by other users. The web page thus functions as a kind of virtual diary or virtual herbarium where personal text messages are stored and transformed into images. In their totality they build a common image that can become increasingly complex as more users send messages. As a result, the system will develop toward more and more complex structures that represent the amount of interaction created through the on-line users participation.

4. Conclusions

We have created two interactive web sites that enable Internet on-line users to create visual forms from written language. By using our text-to-form editors, we can treat text messages as genetic code and translate the text’s parameters, such as letters, syntax and sequencing of text, into three-dimensional structures.

While various artists [5, 6, 7, 8] have been using the Internet to create web-based interactive art works, "Life Spacies" and "VERBARIUM" are the first systems to translate written text into visual three-dimensional forms. Inspired by the idea of creating visual language, we translated written language into visual forms to create artistic and audience participatory systems for the Internet.
Christa Sommerer: VERBARIUM, 12-11-2020, in: Archive of Digital Art
Literature
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »VERBARIUM and LIFE SPACIES: Creating a Visual Language by Transcoding Text into Form on the Internet.« In IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages Conference (VL’99), edited by , 90-95. Tokyo: VL´99, 1999.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »VERBARIUM and Life Spacies: Creating a Visual Language by Transcoding Text into Form on the Internet.« In VL '99 Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages, edited by IEEE Computer Society Washington, 90. Washington, DC, USA: IEEE Press, 1999.
Sommerer, Christa and Laurent Mignonneau. »VERBARIUM.« In Ars Electronica ´99 - Cyberarts99, edited by , 52-53. New York, Vienna: Springer Verlag, 1999.