Prepared By Pamela Jennings for nas


Visualizing social networking and discussion in a small community

flowerGarden, social network and conversation visualization software

Inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting “Flowergarden” (1905) the flowerGarden is an interactive visualization of social networking and concept sharing occurring within a small group of thirty to eighty individuals. flowerGarden was deployed at the Bodies in Play Summit, a conference held at the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in May of 2005. Set up as a projected installation in the event space, participants entered information about the conversations and topics of discussion they had with others. Over the course of the event, the flowerGarden grew from a few sparse flowers to a lush garden as the number of participants (flowers) and conversations (flower petals) increased. 

The Flash web application allows participants to input conversation information (grow mode) or navigate data (explore mode), visualized as an overlapping combination of a social network graph and a word cloud concept map. Each participant is represented as a flower with their initials in the centre and one petal for each conversation they have entered. A vine links participants who have had conversations. The frequency of concept entries is mapped to word size and position, showing commonly used terms in the center of the circle. For the purposes of the Speculative Data and the Creative Imaginary exhibition, grow mode has been disabled but visitors can explore the garden grown by participants at the original conference in 2005. 

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Acknowledgements & Credits


FlowerGarden was made in collaboration with programming support from David Kretz and funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Banff New Media Institute.


Texts: All texts were written by the exhibition participants.

Editor: Pamela Jennings, Pittsburgh, PA (USA)

This work has been republished from the 2007 Exhibition 'Speculative Data and the Creative Imaginary: Shared Innovative Visions between Art and Technology' curated by Pamela Jennings As part of the ACM Creativity and Cognition Conference at  at the National Academy of Sciences' headquarters at 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. The original exhibition catalogue can be found at: http://www.pamelajennings.org/PDF/NAS_Catalog.pdf

Exhibition Sponsors

Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences presenting a program of exhibitions that explore relationships among the arts and sciences, engineering and medicine.


The 2007 Association for Computing Machinery Creativity and Cognition Conference held in Washington D.C. June 13th – 15th, 2007, exploring the theme of cultivating and sustaining creativity: understanding how to design and evaluate computational support  tools, digital media, and socio-technical environments that not only empower our creative processes and abilities, but that also encourage and nurture creative mindsets and lifestyles. 


National Science Foundation Computer, Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Creative IT Program, exploring the synergies between creativity and information technology, science, engineering, and design research.

Copyright is held by the author/owner(s) of the text and images reproduced in this catalog

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