Calliope builds on the lessons learnt from the NeverEnding Drawing Machine. Rather than a static system that lives indoors, Calliope was inspired by the portability of "en plein air" painting and the pochade box that made it possible. Inspired by Kimiko Ryokai’s “World as your Palette,” effort to design and develop tools to allow artists to create visual art projects with elements extracted directly from their personal objects and their immediate environment, Calliope is a portable, paper-based platform for interactive, networked story making which allows physical editing of shared digital media at a distance.
With Calliope, we shrank the size and cost by using a system of mirrors and the availability of pocket projectors. We were also interested in exploring the difference between a system that allowed from many to many collaboration to a more intimate one to one design. Like the Never-Ending Drawing Machine, Calliope is composed of networked creation-stations that seamlessly blend analog and digital media and uses the page-turning book format to synchronize networked co-creation.
When using the Never-Ending Drawing Machine, we noticed people had trouble pressing the "big red button" since their hands were mostly busy. Calliope substituted the button for a pedal to be pressed. Unlike the Never-Ending Drawing Machine, Calliope uses human-readable tags, designed as dominoes, which can be drawn directly onto the paper with a marker by the user.
One of the most valuable outcomes of blending analog and digital media, was the ability to save every version, allowing to then explore the process of creation. The NEDM though did not have a way that the user could access this without having to interface with the computer's file system. For Calliope, we designed a tag which, upon placing it over the desired page, lets you see all the versions that came before the last one. Furthermore, Calliope now can record audio! When the "rooster" tag is placed, one can record onto that page and play back, extending the palette to the aural realms. The intention remains: to offer opportunities for cross-cultural and cross-generational collaboration among peers with expertise in different media.