spheres [ english | español | portugués ]

Spherical Surface of Dialogue

Spheres shaped by dialogue, a net of semantical combinations. The richness of words consists in their relations with one another. A single pair of words placed together is enough to create narrative, reflections, theories, poetry, humour, or even the arbitrary…

Spheres is a project in constant evolution. At this point in time, there exist four spheres: Three spheres of words in distinct languages and one trilingual sphere, of recent publication, created as an interface of communication between the scientific and social communities.



¿Que relación hay entre el zen y la necesidad?
esfera de relaciones
en español [PC] [Mac]

¿Que relação á entre as bifurcaçoes e sonhar?
esfera das relações em portugués [PC] [Mac]

What relation exists between lies and the milky way?
sphere of relations in english [PC] [Mac]


The spheres of relations, with available versions in Spanish (inauguration in March 2004), English (November 2004), and Portuguese (March 2005), are spaces of stimulation and inspiration; spaces in which a slow conversation among words can be developed, and through these words, among peoples. Upon selecting two words in the sphere, spontaneously or premeditatively, the question arises: What relation exists between them, between their meanings? Therefore one may respond with the first thing that comes to mind, search for a profound relation or merely arbitrary meaning. That which the spectator chooses to write, will live on in the sphere; others will read it and write new relations.

technical requeriments: 1024x768 screen, flash player v6 (download here)


What relation exists between virus and stars?
complex sphere · trilingual version [PC] [Mac]


"[...] Whose place is it, for example, to define the meaning of life? -Biologists, philosophers, chemists, historians, writers, journalists, theologians, mystics, metaphysicians, school teachers, parents? -All of them at the same time? Every one of us? We are not interested in the definition of the word, but rather in the dialogue created around it. A single word, like life, contains an infinite extensive trans-cultural and trans-temporal dialogue.

In both scientific and everyday contexts, the same word can define different things, however they will not be radically different. In each case, the configuration of the word is according to its usage. In the words of Wittgenstein, two meanings of the one word, in their respective contexts, are like brothers or cousins, members of the same family; they’re not the same but they’re similar. It is possible that they may never establish a perfect equivalency, but maintain a common air, “an air of family”. For this reason, the debates of science are not contained dialogues of a closed and isolated sphere; on the contrary, they possess an extensive and porous surface which makes them permeable and open; in fact a part of a much larger dialogue: culture.

[...] words and expressions of the sciences of complexity (in their public incidence) conform an excellent surface for communications between scientist and non-scientist; an interface of dialogue, debate, speculation, poetics, humour and critical thinking that concern common themes."

+read complet text: The Words of the Sciences of Complexity: from Ambiguity to Dialogue


The complex sphere is not only a metaphor for the layers of dialogue between scientists and non-scientists, concerning terms and preoccupations; it is a real interface of paused and accumulated conversation. Within the surface of the sphere, scientists and non-scientists from around the world, with different backgrounds and experiences, weave these texts together.

technical requeriments: 1024x768 screen, flash player v6 (download here)


read and write on the spheres

· rotate the sphere with the mouse

· select two words (written texts will apear)

· write


questions, answers

· How many words are in each sphere?

· How many relations exist between the words (in each sphere)? (How many straight lines form n points?)

· How are the words organized within the sphere?

· Does a particular selection of texts exist?


Chronogram, future spheres and modifications


Spheres is an open project in constant development. The aim of this project is to create an unlimited number of spheres in distinct languages with different themes, and to explore different forms of interaction. The general objective of the spheres is to generate layers of dialogue for specific communities. Some spheres search to establish dialogue within a community; however others serve as interfaces of dialogue between distinct communities.
I will continue adding new spheres of words in other languages. Some of the languages into which I plan to translate the sphere, French or German for example, are widely used in the internet. Yet I will also create versions of the sphere in regional dialect and other languages that rarely appear in the internet, such as Basque and Cabo Verdian, for example. In whatever case, each sphere that results should be promoted strategically, probably with som event, envolving differents institutions from different countrys.



credits, thanks

Concept, interface design, program, text: Santiago Ortiz [moebio.com]

English translation: Julia Burns

Portuguese translation: Hernani Dias, with the collaboration of Pedro Soares [afoz.blogspot.com]

  Special thanks to Mauricio Zárate [mauriciozarate.com], artist implicated in these similar themes of the sciences of complexity, for the fruitful conversations that we shared.

  Throughout this project, as in the past, I have counted on the important support of MedialabMadrid [medialabmadrid.org], center of constant creation and dialogue based in the areas of art and science.


Santiago Ortiz, 2005
proyects, information, exhibitions, texts: moebio.com