As part of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights' Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition, The Posters for Freedom installation provides visitors with the tools to create an endless variety of unique posters inspired by the protest posters of the anti-apartheid movement. Completed posters are artfully projected on a wall adjacent to the touch table for other visitors to view both in the gallery and online. An online version enables visitors to engage in the same experience outside of the exhibition; users use the same tools to create posters that may be published to a gallery and downloaded for personal use.
Mobilized citizens, in South Africa and abroad, created protest posters that played a central role in the fight against apartheid. For the Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibit — a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Mandela's birth — the Canadian Museum for Human Rights desired an opportunity for visitors to work with protest poster content in a multi-user setting in an area of the exhibit that explores themes of mobilization and activism.
In developing concepts, Upswell sought to approximate a natural experience of selecting and combining visual elements on a community table. We prototyped a variety of features — color changes, stamping, info callouts, canvas movement — looking to reduce UI elements as much as possible for a frictionless experience, and maximizing flexibility and creativity.
The result is a seamless interactive that allows visitors — alone or together — to create a variety of unique posters from custom graphics and phrases based on apartheid-era content. (English and French phrases make for a shared bilingual experience.) Graphics can be scaled, rotated, and tapped to change color; they stick to a canvas as it is moved around, and overhanging edges of graphics become invisible.
Upon publishing, completed digital posters are projected on large scale blank poster boards among reproductions of anti-apartheid screenprints on display adjacent to the table. Posters also go to the CMS server created for content management, which adds an exhibit-branded banner and posts them to a Tumblr gallery for downloading and browsing. Visitors may also access the experience online using a smartphone or tablet.