In 2012, I was invited to participate in the closing session of the 2nd Electronic Book International Simposium organized by the National Council for the Arts and Culture (CONACULTA) in the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. In the session: Consuelo Sáizar, Director of CONACULTA (at the time), Martín Caparrós y José Gordón (moderador) and I. The title of my presentation (see slides below) is "Beyond hypertext. The creation and presentation of variable texts". During the presentation, I introduce some of the concepts behind Liber Rotavi.

Project in collaboration with José de Jesús Del Toro

Jesús Del Toro is the director of Rumbo newspaper (Houston) and has been in charge of projects at newspapers such as La Opinión (Los Ángeles), La Raza (Chicago) and El Diario (New York). In México, he was editorialist for La Jornada newspaper and director of the web portals Ciberoamérica and Cibersivo. He published Pequeñanatomía (1994, poetry) and his poems were included in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in México and the USA. He is a Journalism Ph.D candidate (Universidad Complutense), a fellow of the NEA Institute in Classical Music (Columbia University).

Liber Rotavi

Variaciones de la Creación


Project in collaboration with José de Jesús Del Toro




Liber Rotavi – Variaciones de la Creación is an interactive poetry book and public art installation that creates a bridge connecting the tradition of classical poetry composition with the fluidity and liveliness of cutting-edge digital art. Liber Rotavi is composed of 35 classical sonnets that are experienced in a rich audiovisual environment where more than 13,000 images and 120 music files are conscientiously combined. The art project in its entirety explores the concepts of creation and destruction, memory and oblivion, flesh and data, human spirit and technology, to construct an always changing experience.



Liber Rotavi, as a hypermedia art piece, combines poetry and multimedia by integrating 35 classic sonnets, more than 13,000 images and 120 musical components that are configured in different levels of construction and integration.


The art piece has 3 different versions: “Diurna” for daytime, “Crepuscular” for dusk or dawn, and “Nocturna” for nighttime. The algorithms that assemble the hypermedia art piece are affected by the time in the computer’s clock. The most “pristine” version takes place around 1 pm and the most “muddled” version happens around 1 am. The sonnets change by a reconfiguration of the individual words following late research in neurology: If the first and last letters of a word are kept in place, but the position of the inner letters is altered, the human brain is still capable of processing language. In the “Diurna” version, the inner structure is completely kept. In the “Crepuscular” version, the inner structure is significantly altered but the sonnets can still be read with ease. In the “Nocturna” version, the shuffling of the letters is enough as to make them unintelligible.


The metric and rhyme of the Spanish classical sonnets are rigorously followed, but the rhythm, breathing, and use of some words and special phrasings provide a unique flow and tension to the reading experience. Some of the sonnets deal with the dichotomy between flesh and data, human spirit and technology, time, memory, and oblivion, and perception and fragmentation. In some moments, the classical sonnets offer a subtle digital ontology.Besides the alteration of the written language, the vignettes that create the visual atmosphere of the art piece also go through several levels of construction/deconstruction also determined by the time of the day. Around 1 pm the imagery reach their highest level of realism and around 1 am they attain their highest level of abstraction. Finally, the musical elements of the art piece endure similar transformations throughout the day.


In essence, Liber Rotavi is an art piece that does not exist in a fixed form, rather it is reconstructed differently at run time.The 35 sonnets are divided into 4 sequences. In “Creación” or Creation, origination and destruction, memory and oblivion, joy and discontent, expose the dilemma of a poet who ponders his existence and his decrepitude. In “Destrucción” or Destruction, the poet reflects and laments about death without entirely losing hope. In “Tesoros” or Treasures, love and memory of the loved one is celebrated. In “Ella” or Hers, the poetic voice changes and it is the loved one who evokes love and pain. The closing sonnet is a final reflection that reconnects conceptually with the beginning of the piece.


Liber Rotavi’s can be experienced intuitively through an easy to navigate system; however, the art piece is also conceptualized as a public art piece that can be projected in a public space (for example, the side of a building). 

Music samples showing the different stages of auditory deconstruction that take place towards the night.

You can download an EXE with the program I wrote to alter the word structures gradually. Change the settings and roll over with your cursor any of the words to see how it changes.


The work on this website is copyrighted to Diego Bonilla and, unless stated otherwise on this page, it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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