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dynamic text performance tool


Equal parts digital graffiti and digital concrete poetry, TextOrgan is the rave cousin of It's Alive! TextOrgan takes the It's Alive! environment, adds a MIDI keyboard for quick access to all the functionality, and allows the user to either input text directly or to select among a set of prepared texts that are then streamed onto the screen. She can quickly build up immensely rich collages of performance-specific poetry and found texts.

TextOrgan was developed for use in conjunction with a DJ at musical events. By collaborating beforehand, the DJ and the TextOrganist can choose a selection of texts and discuss what sort of mood or themes they want develop in the set. When the set begins, the two embark on a improvisational duet, each reacting to what the other is throwing into the media environment. The DJ plays his decks, and the TextOrganist uses the MIDI keyboard and a mouse to play the text. The output of the TextOrgan, projected above the crowd, oscillates between text as pure text, text as image, and pure image, creating an experience that is at times reading, at times watching and at times both. The TextOrganist can also extract simple signal information such as pitch and intensity from either the ambient environment or directly from the DJ's decks. This provides a mean of automating some of the text dynamics to be in synch with the beat, or to ebb and swell as the intensity of the music decreases and increases.


Jason E. Lewis
Alex Weyers


January 2000 - present

Download Download TextOrgan here.

ISEA 2000, Paris, December 2000

Print on Screen, Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria, September 2000 - September 2002

CyberArts 2000, O.K Centrum für Gegenwartkunst, Linz, Austria, September 2000 (images)

British Academy of Film & Television Artists, Arts Alliance Global Summit 2000, London, February 2000 (images)


Honorable Mention, Prix Ars Electronica 2000


ActiveText Behaviors

ActiveText SoftType

ActiveText: A Method for Creating Dynamic and Interactive Texts


It's Alive!, custom-written application in C++
Windows 2000

PIII 800 Mhz (or faster)
32Mb (or greater) video card

77-key MIDI keyboard
Any standard MIDI keyboard


Images Made with TextOrgan




( go here if you want to see the full set in large format)

CyberArts 2000
at Ars Electronica