27 May 2011

As the last company in the world who are making typewriters shuts its doors, FACT has a piece of history in the making in our Media Lounge as part of the Knowledge Lives Everywhere exhibition until 12 June.

The Media Lounge has been transformed into a Digital Storytelling space, inspired by a house in the Anfield area of Liverpool that FACT and Arena Housing’s community media project tenantspin were given access to during 2009 – 2010. The Victoria terrace, 18 Ludwig, had remained almost unchanged since the family moved in around 1907, and presented a unique opportunity to step back in time and literally re-trace the footsteps of the people who lived in the house for more than 100 years.

We have taken an original Remington typewriter from the 1950’s and given it the FACT treatment, turning it into the first Twitter Typewriter. Old meets new, emphasising the how communications have changed from letters that take weeks to arrive to instant messaging via email, skype and social networking amongst others. We have hooked each keystroke up to tiny electronic switches that converts the tap-tapping on the keys into electronic keystrokes.

The typewriter is hooked up to a monitor via a USB cable, just like a computer keyboard. Users can type their memories on the typewriter and watch as they appear on the digital screen. Then there is the best bit; you can pull the carriage return leaver to submit your memory as a Tweet! We asked one of the Gallery Assistants how people have been getting on using the Twitter Typewriter and she said: “There’s been a really great reaction as people love the fusion between the old and the new. The older generation have responded particularly well and have enjoyed being able to share their memories using the web”.

You can follow the Twitter Typewriter @knowledgelives