From an analogue world to a digital one

Challenging the norms of how poetry is consumed. Interviewing Wouter Hof, a design intern for his last year’s project.

Elena Ceriani Sebregondi

Elena Ceriani Sebregondi

Visual designer

What was your project about?

Finding a new way to consume poetry.

I chose this topic mostly because I was curious to know why poetry has always been consumed in a written form. I wanted to see how it could be in a digital form instead, consumed through a different experience, but overall challenge it’s norms.

How could poetry benefit from the digital? Why is poetry written in text all the time? Why isn’t it graphic? Why isn’t it multi-dimensional? These were all questions I asked myself and answers I wanted to explore. 

As I went forth, I decided to challenge myself to transform written poetry into computer generated animations in real time. The idea would be to have a computer ‘read’ the poem through script, which then would express the emotions within it through visual animations. Instead of reading the emotions, you would feel them by seeing the visual interpretation of them.

What did you want to achieve?

I wanted to inspire people with my concept to be more experimental in the cross over from analogue to digital.

But not only, also to remind them that our imagination is endless. Never be afraid to push boundaries and try to always challenge the standards that our society has set. People should use their imagination to improve what’s already out there. So for this project, I chose to experiment with this cross over, by disrupting the norms of how we consume poetry.

Challenging the cross over from analogue to digital.

What tools did you use to achieve your goal?

As a start, I wanted to explore with my own visual compositions. With the addition of then animating them, I would experiment how to portray different emotions through my own interpretations before seeing how generated visuals would appear.

So firstly, with Figma I created a whole visual system of various digital compositions, grids and rhythms that I could then work with.

After Effects was the next step to experiment further on those visual systems and see how they could animate to illustrate the emotions I picked.

Finally, I used Touch Designer to make generated interactive visuals while the program was reading the poem through am extracted code. 

And to who doesn’t know, Touch Designer is a visual programming language for real-time interactive multimedia content. A limitless tool for creativity and freedom of expression. I had heard about it before, and realised it would be the perfect tool for my project.

So with that said, Touch Designer was the tool that helped me set up the different rules of how an emotion was envisioned digitally. I decided whether a word would accelerate or slow down according to the emotion I attached to it. And that’s how the visuals came to life.

Whats next?

After my graduation, I want to continue on this project to explore how much further I can play around with the concept. Every time I look back at the visuals, I get inspired again and ask myself how much further I can bring this concept to life. To what extend can I play with the freedom of expression that Touch Designer allowed me to do?

Overall, the curiosity of it all is my drive to continue exploring the cross-over from an analogue world to a digital one.

Elena Ceriani Sebregondi

Elena Ceriani Sebregondi

Visual designer