The physical world and the virtual world are two distinctly separate worlds. The physical world is the dominant world; the one we live our day-to-day lives in. However the virtual world is becoming more and more prominent and is beginning to appear where you may not quite expect it.

The internet, the hub of the virtual world, is beginning to play a major part in our everyday lives. Be it for education, networking, or just socialising with friends, many people use the internet on a regular basis. We send emails to each other, participate in chats and forums, and keep blogs.

All this chatter accumulates in the virtual world, but it also trickles into the physical world, bridging the gap between the two.


Chatter is a visualisation that was projected in the common room of my university campus. This room was chosen because, just as the internet is the hub of the virtual world, the common room is the hub of the campus. It’s where people go to eat, sleep, relax, work on projects, chat… the place where anything can happen.

The visualisation is set up in a way that is challenging to read. For one, it consists of single comments taken out of context. Secondly the comments are arranged in a way that they are cut off or partially hidden by other comments. It is much the same as being in a cafe or walking down a busy street. Everyone around is holding their own conversation and one can only pick out parts of each conversation. By looking closer or listening more intently one may be able to hear more of a conversation but they will never be able to hear every part of every conversation.

With a quick glance one may not understand anything, but if they sit and watch the comments begin to form new conversations with each other, taking on a new life in their new setting.

Computer Setup

The visualisation was made in Quartz Composer. It is a feed aggregator that searches websites such as Twitter, WordPress, Flickr, Yahoo! and Google for any tweets, comments, news articles or blog entries that contain the words ‘hello’, ‘hi’, or ‘good day’. Those words in particular were chosen because they are common, everyday words that are often used in conversation. The ‘chatter’ Quartz finds is then output to the screen.

Quartz Composer


Booklet (pdf)
Quartz Composition