(english translation: Collection of immoral books)

Project description

The challenge was to design an interactive experience about censored books.

The Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec city owns a collection of old books that were censored by the Catholic church. These books were forbidden to the general population because they exposed scientic theories that contradicted the Church, they shared a different view of catholicism than the one the authorities was communicating or they depicted life in a way that was immoral for the Church. All the books within the collection have a censorship history. Because of there value and fragile nature, the general public cannot manipulate and navigate the books from the collection. Hence, we were challenged to find a way to allow visitors to experience these books.

Our answer to the challenge was an interactive installation inside a confined dark space. Upon entering the space, the visitor face an opened blank book. When the installation detects the presence of the visitor, the content of the book suddenly appears on the pages using video projection. As the visitor read the content, an audio track accompanies the experience. When the user flips a page, a Kinect camera recognizes the action and triggers the projection to display the next page, thus allowing the visitor to navigate the content of the book following his or her own ryhtm. As the experience continues, words start to disappear from the pages and are cut from the audio track giving way to a frustrating censorship experience for the user.

Presentation of the experience:


The prototype was very successful with the public, and it was reused for an academic museum (Carrefour des arts et des sciences, Université de Montreal) for its exhibition about censored literature. See the project page: www.bits-and-clicks/forbidden.


Kinect, OpenFrameworks


Lucie Bélanger
Lydia Bhérer-Vidal
Louise Bluteau-Marceau
Marjorie Champagne
Sylvie Thivierge
Stéphane Vakoula
Maia Wright.