Wedged between Russia and Germany, the nation of Poland has always been in a tough spot, and Poland's Jewish communities have experienced more a shocking amount of hardship. From the pogroms of the 19th century, to the Holocaust of the 20th and beyond, it's no surprise that The Museum of the History of Polish Jews has a lot of history to work with. The museum asked new media art and design collective, panGenerator to create a modern installation to help tell the expansive history of the Polish Jewish people in a nuanced way. Thus, Macrofilm was born.
Macrofilm is a simple-smooth interface designed to display information quickly and beautifully, while circumventing the oversaturated use of touchscreens we've seen in the past decade (no fingerprint smudges at this installation!). The display is controlled by a large, forcefully tangible scroll wheel, which propels facts, images, and stories across the screen. The screen is a film-like ribbon, about 9m long, which arcs upward to the left and right of the scroll wheel. As you scroll, the image on each frame changes, telling complex, compelling stories with a minimalist aesthetic.
panGenerator intentionally created hefty RFID cards to organize the museum's stories. The cards slip right into an indentation on the Macrofilm display panel. The brain of the installation is powered by openFramework software, which reads the RFID cards, projects the appropriate information onto the display using three WUXGA projectors, then communicates between the display and the Arduino-based scroll wheel to ensure the beautiful storytelling works seamlessly.
The simple interface looks like a dream to use. Is this a harbinger that the end of the Touchscreen Era is nigh within art spaces? Perhaps, but no matter how amazing Macrofilm is, it'll be a long time yet before we can play Flappy Bird on it.
H/t to Creative Applications