Interactive Sign for the Cultural Capital 2012, in Guimarães, Portugal – during the Pop Up – Week


This project was part of the Cultural Capital Porject; „Descobrir Guimarães“ in 2012 by Irena Übler.

The signs guided the visitors to the Pop-Up week of Guimarães, which took place on former tanks of the Textile industry, for which the city became famous. The area is called „Couros“ (leather), like the small river which is running through this area. The old tanks of the industry still remain till today, leaving blank open spaces. For this project I created an interactive tile, which gave an audio output if a person is passing by. This tile was communicating with the cultural capital visitors, as well as with the inhabitants. It gave bits of information in two languages, English and Portuguese and guided to hidden, curious places, or was talking about forgotten stories about the former textile industry.

The stories were collected through different investigations, mainly interviewing inhabitants of this neighborhood and research in the public library. Most of the stories consisted of personal accounts to achieve a rather subjective historical few on this area.

I collected stories, memories and historical facts, all about the former textile industry of this area.  A very sweet owner of a bar, was obsessed with the history of „Couros“ and shared his small private collection. He told us many stories about curious characters passing by his tasca (local restaurant).

This sketch shows how the sign is constructed. Its front-design came from one of the signature series of the „Find Your Guimaraes“ Project by Irena Übler. On the backside of the sign I added an Arduino-board with a movement-sensor, two batteries and two small speakers. The chellange was to integrate in this small space all the technical material needed. For audio reasons, it would have been better to choose bigger speakers, but then you need a stronger external energy source, which wouldn’t have worked, if you want to place it randomly on walls of houses. At the end I managed to modify the Arduino-board in order to amplify the audio-output, still I needed to place the tile in a calm streets.