On the Transmutability of Textual Data: Concept and Practices

  • Catarina Lee Independent researcher, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Luísa Ribas ID+ / CIEBA / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Keywords: Digital Data, Text, Visualization, Sonification, Transmutability.


This paper discusses the creative potential of the transmutability of digital data, while focusing on the exploration of textual material. It begins by addressing the conceptual and creative possibilities associated to the topic, and then discusses artifacts that imply or express transmutability as an artistic concept and method. To this end, we resort to a framework for the description and analysis of these artifacts, focusing on their conceptual dimension, on their mechanics and on the elements of their experience. In particular, we address the concepts they approach through the use of data in textual formats as source information or content, we consider the processes for its manipulation, and describe the resulting sensory manifestations while emphasizing their dynamics and variability. In this manner, this study seeks to highlight how transmutability becomes relevant as an artistic argument, by proposing aesthetic experiences that explore the ubiquity and heterogeneity of data in our contemporary world, as it becomes available in text formats.

Author Biographies

Catarina Lee, Independent researcher, Lisbon, Portugal
Catarina Lee holds an MA in Communication Design and New Media (2014) and a BA in Communication Design (2010) from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon. Her current research seeks to explore data-based and software-driven audiovisual systems, with a particular interest on the theme of the transmutability of digital data.
Luísa Ribas, ID+ / CIEBA / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Luísa Ribas holds a PhD in Art & Design (2012), a Master in Multimedia Art (2002) and a Degree in Communication Design (1996) from FBAUP (Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto). She is a member of ID+ (Research Institute for Design, Media and Culture), researching sound-image relations and audiovisuality in digital interactive systems, having contributed to several events and publications on digital art and design. As a professor at FBAUL (Faculty of Fine-Arts, University of Lisbon) she teaches Communication Design, with a focus on print and digital computational media, particularly in the areas of design project, editorial design and audiovisuality, being currently the scientific coordinator of the Master in Communication Design and New Media.


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