October 2006

Supported by National Endowment for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

[meme.garden] is an Internet service that blends software art and search tool to visualize participants’ interests in prevalent streams of information, encouraging browsing and interaction between users in real time, through time.

Utilizing the WordNet lexical reference system from Princeton University, [meme.garden] introduces concepts of temporality, space, and empathy into a network-oriented search tool. Participants search for words which expand contextually through the use of a lexical database. English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are organized into floating synonym “seeds,” each representing one underlying lexical concept.

When participants “plant” their interests, each becomes a tree that “grows” over time. Each organism’s leaves are linked to related streaming RSS feeds, and by interacting with their own and other participants’ trees, participants create a contextual timescape in which interests can be seen growing and changing within an environment that endures.