Jon Slack, Creative Consultant at Cityread, contacted us last autumn. For Cityread London 2016 they wanted to create an installation in central London and smaller installations that would tour to libraries across the 33 boroughs of London. They knew they wanted this to be an interactive experience using digital technology that would bring Gillian Slovo’s book, Ten Days, to life, which is where we came in…
Together, we developed various ideas over the initial weeks of conversations, including an interactive app, but settled on the concept that you see in the Foyles installation and the Evidence Booths that have been touring libraries throughout April.
Visitors to Foyles choose an evidence clipboard and place it on one of the control tables, which, using RFID technology concealed beneath the table, triggers Audible audio extracts from the book and accompanying visuals on the monitor screens. We designed the Evidence Booths to be like mini versions of the main installation, which work in a similar way, but with audio only.
We have been using and developing the technology that allows this to happen over several years. We originally came up with the concept on a residency at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol (where we’re based) and have since incorporated it into many different designs for large exhibitions and small portable‘jukeboxes’ like the booths.
For me, one of the most enjoyable parts of working on this project was having the opportunity to work so closely with Gillian’s text. In order to design the space, source the imagery and edit the extracts, we really had to understand the book and get under the skin of the characters. It was wonderful to have artistic freedom to work within the world of the book and the support of the author to bring it to life through the installation.
Designs were all finalised by the beginning of February, which meant it was quite a short turnaround before the opening at the end of March, but we had a fantastic team working with Barney and I, who I will credit personally below.
Lucy Telling, May 2016
Fabrication: Aron Duckworth and Tom Dawson
Creative Technicians: Buckley Williams
Intern: Alison Cowling
Research Assistant: Karen Dickinson
Production Assistant: Ali Heywood