The Democracy Machine - Sandpit

Arts South Australia
The Democracy Machine

THE BRIEF..........................

To create an interactive installation celebrating the history of democracy in South Australia.

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THE PROJECT.........................

The Democracy Machine is an interactive artwork which explores an eclectic slice of South Australia’s history of democracy, which you uncover through a unique democratic voting process.

The Democracy Machine transports you back in time to vote on some of the most fascinating and compelling moments in South Australia’s past – from before the state’s founding right up to the present day and beyond.

We wanted museum visitors to learn about the history of democracy by participating in the  process of democracy and devised a technical solution that does this in a fun and surprising way.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are confronted with an enrolment station, housed in wood designed by Renate Henschke and built by Justin Hermes. A large button dispenses your very own ‘vote card’. Inside is a cleverly disguised NFC tag.

Below the screen are six custom built voting booths which contain two colour-coded NFC readers each. Visitors tap their 'vote card' to the corresponding reader based on their choice. Votes are then tallied in real time and displayed on the screen, comparing them to the historical result.

After visiting the installation, visitors take their vote cards home with them where they are able to enter a unique ID printed on the back of the card into a custom designed website. Here, visitors see a record of their votes as well as additional historical information relating to the vote itself. 

Want to learn more about the process behind building The Democracy Machine? Read an article about prototyping it here

THE TECHNOLOGY..........................

NFC, raspberry pi, projection

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WHAT'S BEEN SAID..........................

“We have been working with Sandpit for the last few months on the development of The Democracy Machine, which will feature in the Centre of Democracy, opening in Adelaide in May 2017. The process has been one of collaboration and creative partnership, involving a range of stakeholders including the exhibition designers. The pleasure of the process can be seen in the outcome to date; stage one showed a wonderful combination of story, historical sources, digital technology and physical interactivity.”

Mandy Paul, Director
Migration Museum, History Trust of South Australia

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Would you like to know how we could collaborate?

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