I am fascinated by the analysis and visualization of a text to find beauty in underlying patterns or connections that are normally not apparent. A Literary Organism was first used in a project where I explored methods of visualizing the writing style of Jack Kerouac in On the Road. For this piece, I analyzed Benjamin's essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," for word count per sentence and by themes within its structure, and I did it all by hand. Some people knit; I enjoy the act of painstakingly analyzing text with a pen and a highlighter, as (to me) the process of gathering the data is as equally important as the visual outcome. This information was then used to create a literary organism of the essay that is color-coded according to the devices used by Benjamin to bolster his argument. The structure of Benjamin's essay is made apparent through this type of visualization: the essay is divided into numbered sections, then paragraphs, then sentences and finally words. Visualized in this manner, the text becomes an organic, plant-like structure that is living and breathing instead of only being seen in its usual form: black lines on a page.
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