SIGGRAPH World Conference 2018.

Millions of hours of audiovisual content are digitized around the world. While technology offers efficient web players and online information retrieval systems, less has been investigated about how to revive these archives. The research led by EPFL+ECAL Lab over more than 6 years has provided several installations and principles to bring such content back to life. Selected by Siggraph 2018, the prestigious world conference on computer graphics and interaction techniques, EPFL+ECAL Lab presented its results in Vancouver, on August 15, 2018. This contribution is published as an article by Leonardo magazine, MIT Press

The work led by EPFL+ECAL Lab, the design research center of the EPFL / Ecole polytechnique federal de Lausanne, in collaboration with the space conception laboratory ALICE, shows the need to recreate an immersive and social experience out of these digitized live performances. This project has been developed in partnership with the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Foundation Claude Nobs, who owns the largest archive of blues, jazz and rock live recordings, listed since 2013 at UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

If technically, many efforts have been done until now to recreate the past, EPFL+ECAL Lab research offers a new approach to revive these archives by creating a user experience that takes advantage of digitized content, rather than mimicking the past through reconstructions. The investigation takes into account the complexity of a real archive: heterogeneity of content and formats, lack of metadata on old materials, additional contents like text and pictures, and so on.

The work presented at SIGGRAPH 2018 involved three principles to revive the content: augmentation, physicality and interaction. They have been applied to three different installations, playing with architectural dimensions, interaction and visual content as well as sound techniques. The research shows the ability to induce a new relation with the cultural content, but also new social interactions between the users enriching thus the experience.

The latest installation, named Nina, includes nomadic features and will be presented to the public in several cities throughout Europe and the USA in 2019. More scientific results will also be published thanks to extensive monitoring of user perception. This work opens sustainable perspective to valorize the richness of digitized heritage, including their emotional and social dimension.

To read more about this research, the article published by Leonardo magazine is available in the printed publication, to order click here.