MOME x BarabásiLab


The Emergent Media Research Group of the MOME Innovation Center at the call of Albert-László Barabási, physicist and network researcher, have developed a joint project. Within the framework of the cooperation a network drawing robot and an augmented reality (AR) application was presented at the exhibition that opened on October 10, 2020 in the Ludwig Museum. 

As part of the CAFe Budapest Contemporary Art Festival program BARABÁSILAB: HIDDEN PATTERNS, THE LANGUAGE OF NETWORK THINKING was opened on October 10, 2020 in the Ludwig Museum. The exhibition displayed a mechanical installation developed by the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, drawing the lifelines of artists, a printed 3D sculpture and an augmented reality (AR) application.

About the exhibition

Network research and network visualization have proved to be one of the most promising scientific methodological innovations in recent years/decades, which seems to be an effective tool for the study of cultural and social phenomena, including the art scene.

The exhibition Hidden Patterns aims to present the last 25 years of research by the BarabásiLab, led by the physicist and network researcher Albert-László Barabási. By following the development of network visualization – presenting the main projects of the BarabásiLab – the viewer can finally gain insight into the application of this comprehensive method in art. Using state-of-the-art technology (data sculptures, MI, AR, VR, drawing robot), network diagrams and structures vividly describe the hidden connections and relationships that underlie the studied phenomena.

The Network Drawing Robot

The structure fixed on the wall, programmed by the researchers at the MOME Innovation Center and the Barabási Lab, draws each day the network structure of one artist’s lifeline from the Hungarian art scene. We can see which galleries, which institutions hosted their exhibitions during the past years. These drawings are based on an art database that have been processed by an expert group. The distribution of the network elements, the increase of their edges applies algorhythmically the imaging method based on the data collected on several hundred artists and institutions by the research group. For the drawn images the robot forms the lines and letters into different shapes with the help of a program developed defining the rhythm, the dynamics and the temporal structure of the drawing. So a drawing is slowly emerging in front of the visitors’ eyes therefore it gives the experience as if we were observing the process of imaging. Besides visualizing the network with the help of codes, paper, lines and paint the installation aims at the physical representation of the shapes and patterns based on the digital data. 

Extended Data Sculpture Application

For years now the Barabási Lab is making 3D printed network models as they are looking for the solution how to communicate the topology. Researchers at MOME offered a solution to this particular problem by developing a mobile and tablet prototype application that extend the physical objects through graphic elements, text or other (video or sound) content. 

How Food Ingredients Can Be Arranged in a Network? 

The installation designed for the exhibition supports the understanding of the hidden information of the 3D printed network sculpture displayed in space. The basis of the network is provided by a data base which includes the chemical ingredients of the food, and the ingredients of the recipes. Visitors may learn unusual matches of different food types as well as their use in various geographical areas. 

With the help of a camera and sensors the tool follows and interprets the spatial position of the sculpture, and it present various pieces of information by either approximating them to the individual parts or by distancing them from the parts. Relying on augmented reality the application makes a certain spatial navigation possible where the position of the user defines the presented content. On approaching the sculpture in space first the clusters, the name and type of the cohesive elements of the network can be observed when one uses the application. Stepping closer to the sculpture, by choosing its elements, the various intersections, and the names of the food connected to them, one can discover their data.

Data was collected and organized by the Barabási Lab. They designed them in the form a 3D printed sculpture. The related AR application was designed by the MOME Innovation Center research group to find new types of navigation modalities in the borderland of mixed reality and data visualization. 

The exhibition BARABÁSILAB: HIDDEN PATTERNS, THE LANGUAGE OF NETWORK THINKING is open for visitors between October 10, 2020 and January 17, 2021 in the Ludwig Museum.

Network Drawing Robot

Designers: MOME Innovation Center, Creative Technology Hub – Emergent Media Research Group, Barabási Lab

Concept: Albert-László Barabási, Mihály Minkó, Ágoston Nagy

Data processing and visualisation: Csaba Both, Mihály Minkó

Creative programming, sofware architecture: Ágoston Nagy

Coordination: Judit Gottfried

Project manager: Zsömböri Krisztina


Augmented data sculptor application

Designers: MOME Innovation Center, Creative Technology Hub – Emergent Media Research Group, Barabási Lab

Concept: Albert-László Barabási, Mihály Minkó, Ágoston Nagy 

Data processing: Csaba Both, Mihály Minkó 

Design and visualisation: Mihály Minkó, Ágoston Nagy

Programming (Augmented Reality): Ágoston Nagy

Programming (User Interface): Brigi Forrai

Coordination: Judit Gottfried

Project manager: Krisztina Zsömböri