chronotext is a growing collection of software experiments exploring the relation between text, space and time
physical text interaction, with a zest of sound generation

A few words skewered on a line, producing a half-unbearable, half-hilarious whistle while moving with great inertia under the effect of gravity, or vigorously pushed along by none other than your mouse…

Intrigued? Check the links to the right: you're only a few kilobytes away from conducting such an experiment on your own desktop computer.

In the mobile version (unpublished at this time), your device’s accelerometer is used instead of a fixed downward gravity, and your fingers can interact directly with the words.

This is the first chronotext experiment featuring interaction with sound, and hopefully not the last. Hence the basic synthesis: a sine-wave pattern associated with each word, with frequency modulated as per the local curvature, and volume affected by velocity...

It's also the first experiment produced using Cinder and the C++ language. While Java was the previous language of choice, it has become irrelevant for many reasons (not deployable anymore inside the browser; not supported on Apple mobile devices.)

it all began with sand...

Behind the scenes, a physics engine developed over the years and code-named Line1D controls the strings of text via Verlet integration.

Line1D was initially developed in 2004 for an applet wherein the text of Borges' Book of Sand flows over a virtual sand dune. In 2009, the system was extended to support mobile devices and finger interaction, as featured in the following video:


  • • Thanks to Thomas Jakobsen for his enlightening Advanced Character Physics (Proceedings, Game Developer's Conference, San Jose, 2001.)
  • • Made using the Cinder framework by The Barbarian Group.
  • PortAudio was used to handle sound in the Windows version.