The “Glorious Image Viewer”

…is an interactive 3D projection image viewer. The system polls archived pictures from the State Library of Queensland’s database, maps and projects them on the physical architecture and other real world objects that are part of the library building. A piece of software animates the projection and controls the user interaction. Users can interact with and manipulate the picture collection using their mobile phone; they can for example navigate through the collection, speed up the animation, select how many pictures are displayed, zoom in and out, or display the pictures’ metadata.

The system is designed to become a fixed installation in public libraries. It aims to revitalise pictures from archived collections by morphing them with the physical environment in the library building, hence making the archive more ambient and accessible to visitors. The prototype illustrates a 3D projection mapping on three cylinders, but the projection could technically be mapped on any physical object or part of the library infrastructure, e.g. the floor, walls, pillars, furniture, bookshelves, etc. The mobile phone interface is designed to provide a more engaging and tangible interaction with the pictures than traditionally through a desktop computer and browser interface. The “Glorious Image Viewer” was exhibited at The Edge, State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in July/August 2011.

The Making Of:

Libraryhack is run by the National, State and Territory libraries of Australia and New Zealand (NSLA) and advertised as a ‘hack’ event encouraging the re-use of library data in creative and innovative ways. It has a focus on mashups, APIs and mixing and re-mixing digital content that is made freely available by participating libraries.

I met John Howland (http://blog.johnhowland.com.au/), a brilliant digital meda artist at a 24h lock-in libraryhack event at The Edge, and we spontaneously started a conversation about what we do and past projects we worked on, and then more specifically about particular tools and technologies. By about midnight, John introduced me to 3D projection mapping. I wanted to learn more about this technique and nagged John to show me. The idea was just to tinker around and learn what is possible, rather than work on a specific project. As we went along, some ideas started to evolve and we began to add functionality to the projections. I have worked on previous projects using mobile phones and the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol to interact with other networked devices and objects in the real world. At some stage we decided to build an interactive 3D projection image viewer for images from the SLQ library archives. We’ve spent the night at the Edge working on the project till around 8.30 in the morning, and met again two days later in the evening to do some last-minute fine tuning before we submitted it to the competition. A couple of weeks later we received an email from the Libraryhack organisers that we won the main prize in the Digital Media Mashup category, which made us very proud and happy.

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