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Early subscribers might remember the yearly occurence of the Visual Poetry works, such as those of 2005 (oh, where is the time?), 2006, and most recently the years 2007 and 2008. Now finally, the documentation of the 2009 and 2010 [esono.com] editions have appeared online.

All these data art works were designed in the context of Poetry on the Road, an international literature festival which is held every year in Bremen, Germany. Since 2002, designer and university professor Boris Müller has been commisioned to design the main visual theme for the festival. While the theme itself is changing, the underlying idea for the visuals is always the same: all graphics are generated by a computer algorithms that turn the poetry texts into compelling images. As a result, every image is the direct representation of a specific text.

The 2009 Visual Poetry version uses a combination of a Treemap visualization algorithm and a Code128B bar code generator. Each word is represented as a rectangle, which corresponds to the frequency of the word. Each word is then also encoded as a barcode, which fills the according rectangle. So it is possible to decrypt the poster using an appropriate bar code scanner.

The 2010 Visual Poetry version is based on the concept of a mad origami master, as every poem is represented as a data sculpture made from virtual paper. A long paper strip is folded in an extremely complex manner, as every ridge represents a word from a poem. Depending on the length and frequency of the word, the form of the ridge changes. The virtual paper is then folded between the ridges, resulting in 3D abstract shapes.

Be sure to explore the interactive versions!