Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands


British Library
May 2012

Clay created an interactive map installation for the British Library's summer exhibition 'Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands', part of the official London 2012 Festival.

The British Library wanted to create a comprehensive literary landscape of the British and Irish Isles with the help of the public, and visualise it on-gallery in an engaging and dynamic manner.

During the exhibition, the public is invited to submit their favourite pieces of writing that represent a place they know. They are asked to answer questions such as how the author has captured the spirit of a place, how it has changed over time, and how it is important to them.

Clay's on-gallery software connects with the submission and moderation system, built by the library's in-house developers, and presents the curators' favourite submissions on-gallery in a stimulating and interactive manner.

The main wall map has the locations of all the submissions dynamically projected onto it. A large 'hero' display on the wall highlights some of the most interesting submissions, displaying text and images and then moving on to another highlight.

Two touch-screen terminals, connected to the map by vinyl and projected lines, allow visitors to browse the full range of submissions for themselves, roaming around the British Isles at will, and reading the entries in full on the touch screens in front of them.

The submissions, some of which are deeply personal, will be added to British Library's digital collections for re-use by future researchers.