Občanské fórum - interaktivní instalace - Milan Švehla

Civic Forum

installation 2019

What would it be like to stand in front of thousands of people and television cameras in Prague in 1989? Interactive installation which combines speech-to-text technology and archive footage allows user to feel how it was to be one of the speakers of Civic Forum in 1989.

The Web App was created for the university assignment „Velvet Revolution“ and it is aiming to give the feeling of that time. But while being demonstrant is quite easy even today, be one of the acting people, feel the nervousness before the important moments and see the backstage, is restricted to just a few. Another motivation was to try practically the speech-to-text technology.

Interactive installation is in Czech and English (however I made the screenshots and video just for Czech version) and is controlled with voice. The person is navigating with voice commands through simple tutorial which shows him the atmosphere of November 1989. Quick advices are given on how to proceed with the speech – pronounce thoroughly, speak loudly and stick to your notes. After that she is transferred to give speech on one of the most important tribunes in Czech history. The user has to read the given speech and depending to how good is he proceeding, the crowd applauses.

Installation was presented in a few ways. Firstly on the computer, where I used borders of old TV, on the exhibition on the old TV itself and the video was made using projector. 

The key message is to point on the importance of words which we hear from the tribunes and public statements then and now. Words are powerful and can change the society, and we should be aware of that.