Lecture at ISEA'96, Rotterdam (1996)
One aim of the Audiovisual Institute of the Pompeu Fabra University is the production of interactive programs supporting the main research and educational activities, and the dissemination of minority cultural knowledge through new digital media.
Through these productions we want to bring together the research in multimedia design with its practical application and testing. We study the relations between interface, content and user personal characteristics, and the possibilities of these interactive interfaces as a new way to communicate.
Our first interactive production is Dotze sentits. Poesia catalana d'avui (Twelve senses. Today's Catalan Poetry), a CD-ROM made in collaboration with "Editorial Proa" (a publishing company) and "Diputació de Barcelona" (a public regional institution).
It is based on the works, lives and ideas of twelve living catalan poets (the selection and the related contents is due to Jaume Subirana):
Blai Bonet, Joan Brossa, Enric Casassas, Narcís Comadira, Feliu Formosa, Pere Gimferrer, Maria Mercè Marçal, Miquel Martí i Pol, Josep Palau i Fabre, Francesc Parcerisas, Màrius Sampere and Jordi Sarsanedas
We have tried to accomplish two main objectives. First, a user interface as transparent as possible in order to guarantee an easy approach to information by people that are in principle interested only in poetry.
Second, to create a surprise effect and promote the desire to exploring the CD-ROM, offering a collection of multimedia possibilities that probably the user never expected.
The CD-ROM contains a set of different multimedia materials:
We include also a more traditional encyclopedic approach which offers to the specialists an exhaustive and textual information on biography, bibliography and the contents of articles about each author, and contemporary catalan poetry in general. This information can be printed if desired.
A third playful approach uses a theater metaphor with animation and audio elements to propose a poetry reading in video with a personalized list of poets.
"Twelve senses" (only available in Catalan)
is an example of a way to approach poetry, an old and mainly textual or
verbal artistic form, to the general public using the new communication
possibilities that interactive media offer.
After the opening sequence, a general menu presents the main sections: Poets, Poetic Recital, Encyclopedia and Other.
Starting with the first section, you choose one of the twelve poets.
|Entry screen for a poet
With his or her signature, some lines chosen as emblematic, a recent photography over the view of the place where he or she works.
Each poet has personally selected five poems.
The first appears in video together with the text.
|In the second, the text "take shape", following the tradition of the calligram and visual poetry, on the basis of the author's voice. It is a free visual interpretation (made with the kind tolerance of the poets ;-)|
|The recital of a third poem can be followed with the images of the original manuscript.|
|Finally, a last couple of poems can be heard and read showing new photographies of the poet.|
The poets can be seen and heard commenting their own work or speaking about poetry or art in general.
The covers of each author's books of poems provide a visual tour of their published work, with bibliographical information and details of prizes received where relevant.
Each poet has combed his or her photo album, selected eight photographs and captioned them with his or her voice.
|Those special objects
They present half a dozen objects which for some reason are especially meaningful to them. They also show us their rag-bags full of surprises.
Painting, music, films, translation, collecting and passions divers... Each author proudly confesses the craze on which he or she happily fritters away time and energy.
|Biographies and bibliographies
A biography (often expressly written) and an extensive, up-to-date bibliography enlarge and document the reportage on each author, making this CD-ROM a vast database on Catalan poetry.
|The best writings on their work
Each poet has made a selection of writings (prologues, reviews, interviews) which he or she feels best introduce their work (all these writings may be printed). There is also an anthology of general articles on contemporary Catalan poetry and a list of the main awards and their winners.
Finally, you can create poetry recitals in a virtual theatre with poems recited by their authors. You can combine them at your own, adding entr'actes or interludes, or simply requesting an automatic choice to organise a different multimedia poetry happening.
If you want to know more in Catalan (and Java) click here !
You can order the CD-ROM (for Mac and PC) from Enciclopèdia Catalana, S.A.