Liveplasma Pop Culture Mapping

I’ve been asking around in come email circles for any leads in software that might allow a mortal faculty member and his/her students to create 3D mind/concept maps… One reply was not relevant, but shared the link to Liveplasma a rather interesting social software / music+movies connection mapping web application. I only played with it briefly, but you can search movies or music by artist, and Liveplasma generates some node and connector maps that display works by the artist, connections to others, and some sort of visual reference that indicates it’s popularity (I think it has to do with what members mark as “favorites”.

My quick exploration was extremely surficial but interesting…

I started by entering under a movie director a search on Clint Eastwood:


which is rather dense in a zoomed out view. Coming in a bit closer, the details emerge:


So with old Clint in the center, we see connections to what I assume are movies he directed. I did not even dive in enough to see what the colors meant, but each purple circle is a new node that can be centered and explored. So if I select “Play Misty For me”, my map shifts and grows:


Note how the left sidebar keeps track of my recent maps so I can jump backward and take a different path. One also gets ancillary external links, such as movie info on Play Misty from Amazon. Looking some nodes, farther our I can shift to “City Heat”:


The connection here is that Eastwood starred in City Heat, and our Music Plasma map indicates we can shift our node to view the works of that movie’s director, Richard Benjamin:


This is rather an interesting way to view information visually by its connectors and relationships, especially for complex relationships that cannot neatly fit into flat 2d representations of outlines and lists.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I am looking at ways to map culture as part of my final year project on BSc hons Digital Art and Technology, and this is a very intresting peice.

    I had a quick squiz around and it seems as though the linkage is a good and a bad thing at the same time, forcing links that not everyone might make.

    I also couldn’t find a way to have an impact on the map (or perhaps web), which would be significant as culture is forever changing and very subjective.

    An intresting peice that you might like to look at is at http://talkingpoint.orange.co.uk/ They start a topic and people can add idea’s and it creates an interactive map of words and comments surrounding the “talking point”. Its mainly about mobile phone topics as it is hosted by a mobile phone company.


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