INK - Designing for Performative Literary Interactions

Jonas Fritsch, Søren Bro Pold, Lasse Steenbock Vestergaard, Melissa Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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.
Keywords: Affective engagement, Digital literature, Ergodic reading, Public displays, Performative interaction
Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Pages (from-to)1551-1565
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • digital literature
  • public displays
  • Affective interaction design
  • Performativity
  • Digital Aesthetics


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