The Visual Interaction Group (VIG) at CVC explore graphic and tangible systems for using digital collections. They look at low cost public consoles for browsing cultural collections, and for allowing citizens to interact, select, add metadata, comment, and publish.

Phase 1: Artwork

A series of artworks (presented by Dan Norton at WIRKT) commenced the VIG research theme into tangible interaction and collections.

These artworks are graphic user interfaces for museums, live performance, collections. Web versions can be accessed below.  Each requires a desktop/laptop for viewing:

Phase 2: Annotating & Publishing – Memory Fields

Memory Fields – A touch screen console and video wall installation for the Library of Sant Cugat, Spain.

The console accesses two collections: Spanish Civil War propaganda posters, and contemporary audio field recordings from Catalonia, Spain.  It mixes sound and image synchronously and generates collages. These can be annotated and published to a collection online @memoryfields

Presented in:

Internet Librarian International 2015

Sonar D+


and Paper describing the system accepted in Disruption – isea2015

Phase 3 – Brossa Visual Poems (Unpublished)

The Joan Brossa Foundation and MACBA (Barcelona) invited VIG to work with an unpublished collection of visual poems by the Catalan poet Joan Brossa.   Brossa worked on the collection with colleagues like Joan Miro and Antoni Tapies.

@BrossaInedit is a touch screen interface for public screen, to select, view, comment, and publish artworks by Brossa. Each artwork contains metadata showing where the work was published, date time stamp, and user’s personal comments. The archive can be viewed via Twitter @BrossaInedit as a new online resource for original cultural artifacts.

The console was in Library Living Lab, Barcelona, Spain, as a part of the 16th National Festival of Poetry. It represented Spain at the European Parliament in Generation Code , and in Mobile Week Barcelona 2017.

Phase 4 – Visual Primitives

Visual interaction with digital content using computer cameras for eye and head-tracking.  Research in visual and technical development,  using public installations in open arenas for citizen feedback.

Head Box (see video) uses visual triggers to access artifacts from the endangered archives project, EAP209: A survey on surviving dongjing archives in Jianshui, Tonghai and Mengzi. The material was developed at British Library Labs.

Presented at 4S/EASST 2016. Abstract here

A web version can be viewed  here  (requires desktop or tablet, with camera). Note: web version does not work perfectly ! :

  • Left / Right: work correctly;
  • Up/Down: delicate! sometimes works;
  • Centre button (grey circle for reloading library); Does not work. Use mouse !

Phase 5: Tangible play

Integrating phases 3 and 4: Digital Primitives & Joan Brossa

Interaction with @BrossaInedit previously involved a series of hand gestures using a tactile screen. These gestures are now translated as tangible interaction with plastic objects using an infrared sensor (LeapMotion™ device).


The  prototype develops an approach using objects, which evoke very simplified manipulation patterns. We use children’s toys. These can be mapped as predictable hand gesture.

The result moves away from expensive and fragile equipment (touch screen), and looks at the use of low cost, robust elements (plastic shapes and IR sensor),  to develop potentially none-touch consoles for interaction with public viewing screens and digitized cultural collections.