There’s a new museum in Italy!
The new venue for the Collezione Salce archive recently opened in Treviso.
It’s a huge collection of more than 50000 vintage posters and billboards, coming from the end of the 1800 and up to the 70s, stored both physically and in a digital archive.
Visiting the newly renewed Santa Margherita former church, you can find three installations that me and my colleagues designed for this institution. All three of them are built with, or strongly rely on, TouchDesigner, and the same software is used to coordinate and manage all the different hardware and software solutions, including start-up routines for all the devices.
National Museum Salce Collection, Treviso, Italy
Ministry of Culture – Regional Directorate for Museums of Veneto
Gregorio Mastrangelo (En&COM) – Designer, Art Director
Davide Santini – TouchDesigner Programming, Interaction Designer, Graphics
Andrea Spontoni – MAX Programming, Music Composer, Sound Design, Voice Recording
Mattia Diomedi (Laser Entertainment) – Installation Engineering
Laser Entertainment – Technical Supplier and Installer
Renato Casaro – Voice over
Selene Monizza – Voice over
The first installation is right at the entrance of the museum.
Facing the main door, the wall of the reception has become the perfect canvas for a 5 meters wide projection. Here we wanted to showcase the full digitalized archive and give the audience a way to select some categories to filter the results.
Using TouchDesigner we created 12 columns of posters, that continuously rotate, showing the different images taken from the digital archive. Four separate touchscreens allow the audience to pick a category and filter the results for each column, so that they can choose what posters to show on the wall.
In the whole entrance area and corridors, you can also hear a spatialized soundtrack.
The whole system relies on a main server running on TouchDesigner, and 4 NUCs running the user interface to select the column categories, based on MAX. Every communication happens over the network and is managed by TouchDesigner itself, including wake-on-lan for the PCs and the 4 projectors, audio over Dante and, of course, the digital archive management and all the graphics elements and transitions.
There is also a laser, that draws logos and texts above the entrance door.
The second installation is designed as a way of bringing the poster experience to visually impaired people.
We duplicated on a touchscreen a famous poster from the movie “Sheltering Sky”, made by the Italian artist Renato Casaro. The silhouettes of the characters and the lines of the background are actual different physical surfaces, applied on the monitor screen. Through an audio track, people are invited to touch these surfaces and to follow the lines with their hands. When touching the different areas of the poster, they get highlighted, and the voice of Renato Casaro himself, the artist that draw the poster, is played, telling a short anecdote about that particular graphic element.
The whole experience is created and managed using TouchDesigner on a Windows NUC hidden behind the screen. Interesting feature is that the system starts when an ultrasonic proximity sensor detects a presence, so that instructions are shown on screen and played on the audio system only when someone gets close to the monitor, and everything goes back to stand-by mode when no one is in this area of the museum.
The third and last installation we created is conceived as a medium for schools, children and anyone who wants to have fun with drawing boards.
Five different graphic tablets allow students and aspiring artists to import images from a restricted website, modify them and, of course, draw over them.
When happy with the result, people can then share their works on the 5 screens in front of them, and also receive the digital file via email.
Since we had this five screens setup, we decided to add some other functionalities. We created two additional operating modes for them: the first one allows a “primary” graphic tablet (ideally used by a teacher or a museum guide explaining something) to use them all as a single very wide board, sharing what they paint; the second mode allows to use all five screens as a wide format screen, and show single images, play slideshows or even movies on it.
This whole system is a mix of MAX running on the five NUCs for the drawing boards (and email) part, TouchDesigner in the background for downloading the desired images from a restricted website, and a separate TouchDesigner server for all communications, and to manage the outputs on the screens, and the different screen modes.
Communications were quite tricky to setup in this scenario, because of the need of different signals and connections to be passed around the local network and on the internet, but once again TouchDesigner proved its best!