Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 1551–1565 | Cite as

Ink: designing for performative literary interactions

  • Jonas Fritsch
  • Søren Bro PoldEmail author
  • Lasse Steenbock Vestergaard
  • Melissa Lucas
Original Article


In this article, we present the interactive literary installation Ink, an experimental installation displayed at the Roskilde library, and the Roskilde Festival, which is designed to prompt public reflection on the nature and role of digital literature. By manipulating three books embedded with sensors, and watching text visualized on a 55” screen, members of the public select from a range of predefined sentences, previously created by a Danish author, and stored in a database. Squeezing the books alters each poetic line by degrees. The final poems print onto a library receipt for their producers and upload to a blog for public viewing. We present (1) design challenges to an installation meant to persuade people to engage affectively with the ergodic nature of digital literature and (2) an in-depth analysis of the empirical findings from the installation studies at the Roskilde Festival. In particular, we highlight the broad, rich range of performative interactions facilitated by the interactive setup. This analysis examines the performative writing and reading achieved by the public through interaction with Ink and also with the resultant poems. From this exploration, we discuss general tendencies when designing affectively engaging literary interactions at the edge of art and design.


Affective engagement Digital literature Ergodic reading Public displays Performative interaction 



Ink (Tilfældigvis er skærmen blevet blæk/Accidentally, the Screen Turns to Ink) is created within the project Litterature Takes Place (Litteraturen finder sted) by Roskilde Bibliotekerne and Participatory Information Technology Center, Digital Urban Living, CAVI, Aarhus University. 3D programming and sound design are supported by Jonas Oxenbøll Petersen, Janus Bager Kristensen, Rolf Bagge and Rune Wehner, respectively. This research has been funded by the Aarhus University’s interdisciplinary research center Participatory IT, PIT.

Supplementary material

VIDEO 1 – Vestergaard, L. (2012) Presentation of Ink: (MP4 759826 kb)

VIDEO 2 – Lucas, M. (2013) Observations of Ink from the Roskilde Festival: (MP4 136154 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonas Fritsch
    • 1
  • Søren Bro Pold
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lasse Steenbock Vestergaard
    • 1
  • Melissa Lucas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Aesthetics and Communication, CAVIAarhus UniversityAarhus NDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Scandinavian StudiesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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