Data Sculptures


Three-dimensional sculpture of the "Flavor Network" in white. On the wall in the background is a mathematical algorithm formula.


3D printing

layout algorithm

physical networks

»Flavor Network«


Data Scuptures | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

Conventional network visualization seemed to be stuck in two dimensions for years. One important focus of the BarabásiLab, at the interface of network science and art, is overcoming this two-dimensionality and transferring networks into three-dimensional space, giving birth to data sculptures.

Albert-László Barabási, Alice Grishchenko, Nima Dehmami, Soodabeh Milanlouei, »The Flavor Network as a 3D Data Sculpture«, 2018

Traditional network layout algorithms perceive the connections between two components, called »links,« as virtual and bodyless lines that are allowed to cross each other. Yet in physical networks, like the network within a brain, this is not possible. The BarabásiLab created a new mathematical algorithm that permits the layout of three-dimensional networks without link crossings. The algorithm’s formula, inspired by actual physical and biological patterns, shapes the final structure of the data sculpture. Through the software developed and the possibilities offered by the emerging powder-based 3D printing process, »The Flavor Network« was realized in 2018 as the first three-dimensional network representation. While the previous two-dimensional »Flavor Network« was in color, at that time 3D printing could only be done in monochrome. It carries information in its structure—presenting a clear separation of the different flavor communities and unveiling previously hidden relationships between food groups.

Three-dimensional sculpture of the "Flavor Network" in white

Connectome (2019)

    • 3D brain network of a mouse

Connectome | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

Albert-László Barabási, Jose Brum, Nima Dehmami, Alice Grishchenko, Emma Towlson, »The Mouse Connectome«, 2019

Heat (2020)

    • The effect of heat on networks

Heat | video commentary by Albert-László Barabási

Visualisation of a network of countless fine grey lines
A showroom with a white 3D network model in a glass box.

Gurgas (2018–2021)

    • Dense Networks

Albert-László Barabási, Csaba Both, Alice Grishchenko, »Gurgas«, 2021

BarabásiLab, »Inflatable Gurga«, 2021

Network Canon (2018)

    • Iconic 3D Models
Two white graphics of the Erdős-Rényi and Barabási-Albert network models with handwritten notes on a black background.
Exhibition view with »Network Canon« as a 3D model and image on the wall.