Skip to main content

A Fantastic Tale – Karen Blixen 2008

A Fantastic Tale – a poetic installation where storytelling blends with light sound and interactive textiles

In August 2008 the Boganis room in the Karen Blixen museum in Rungsted, Denmark, was transformed into an interactive installation. The installation was a poetic space playing with contrast of intimity and extravagance and visual and auditive text. It was a space clear in the outer form and fluent and unpredictable in the inner. Just like Karen Blixen’s stories.

The centre of attention in the installation is an over dimensioned book (1.5 x 2m when open) where the action of the visitors mix with the staging of Karen Blixen, her stories and the role of the ‘storyteller’.


 Artistic Experiment Project

Staging the Storyteller

An installation (focused on the big book of the storyteller) with blank pages is brought to live when a guest approaches. A disturbing and compelling sensory room where the book itself, and it’s amazing stories, calls for all the attention. Words and pictures become visible, when a guest moves her hand over the pages, and while flickering through the book starts to tell a story supported by an alluring soundscape and projected images that can be manipulated by movement.

The undiscribed pages are brought to live and the story of life unfolds. Every spread has its own theme: 1. The storyteller, 2. The place of the plot, 3. Nature, 4. The duality of love, 5. The masquerade, 6. The closure of the story.


Interactive Textile Book

The book is 2 by 1,5 meters when open and each page has embedded technology within. The pages have different words printed on them, but not with ordinary print. We use thermocromic ink meaning that the words can disappear and reappear according to temperature. Behind the words we have placed heating pads that is controlled by a computer and is connected to the analyzing system that register the ‘reader’s’ actions. Embedded in the pages is also electro-luminiscent surfaces with cut-outs in order to create luminous words. On top of the pages words and images that can be manipulated by the ‘reader’ are projected.

All the quotes are from The Dreamers that is part of Karen Blixen’s first novel Seven Gothic Tales.

Design and concept: Hanne-Louise Johannesen and Michel Guglielmi (Diffus Design)
Design assistent: Thea Gastrup
Programming and engineering: Henrik Øvad
Sound Design: Kristian Mondrup
Interaction design: Sebastian Thiele
Photography: Henrik Hildebrandt

Project partner: Karen Blixen museet