Ars Electronica 2006
Festival-Website 2006
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'Dietmar Offenhuber Dietmar Offenhuber / 'Gerhard Dirmoser Gerhard Dirmoser

SemaSpace is a fast and easy to use graph editor for large knowledge networks, and the result of a collaboration between Dietmar Offenhuber and Gerhard Dirmoser. It helps with the creation of interactive graph layouts in 2d and 3d space. The system is powerful enough for the realtime calculation of complex networks and can incorporate additional data such as images, sounds and full texts.

Semantic networks have become a general paradigm for knowledge representation beyond their traditional application in science and technology. Under the phrase of the iconic turn a shift from linear textual narration to diagrammatic reasoning has been taking place. Disciplines like art history, image science and philosophy increasingly use semantic networks and diagrammatic methods in their work.

Gerhard Dirmoser creates complex large-scale wall diagrams on topics like 25 years of Ars Electronica, influenced by the renaissance model of the memory theatre. All information in these diagrams, which often contain more than 10,000 text-fields, has been acquired and organized in a manual fashion. While the special form of organization of this data in radial clusters can still be done manually, it is not feasible for the creation of semantic networks with a similar level of complexity.

While many systems have been developed for the display and the analysis of semantic networks, existing tools are often not appropriate for assisting this process. SemaSpace has been designed to aid the development, evaluation and navigation of complex semantic networks in a graphical, sensual way. SemaSpace fills the gap between complex tools for network analysis and simple graph editors or mind-mapping tools. It is powerful enough to handle complex graphs, maintaining a maximum of performance by keeping everything as simple as possible. It creates a browse- and readable data-space in both 2-D and 3-D; different media assets such as sounds, images, URLs or full texts attached to individual nodes can be included and displayed within the network.