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Birdhouse Interactive is a platform that houses digital reading experiences of interactive, animated poetry. It is a web-based platform  through which audiences can engage visual communication resources, namely multimedia narrative poems that are navigated digitally. Birdhouse Interactive blends literature with visual art and innovative information design in order to create meaningful digital storytelling materials.

Because my creative research practice is  primarily concerned with the combination of poetry, animation and  interactive media, I continuously explore how the digital artist book medium  is able to enhance the ways in which audiences navigate digital narrative content. Considering the haptic nature of interactive narrative content, I am conscientious in applying the best practices  when designing multi-modal and sensory user experiences. My work interrogates the concern of how we share our lived experiences through digital stories; this is the key concern that forms the backbone of my visual art practice.  In working with the digital artist book format,  I am always eager to learn how new technologies can be used to compliment  modes of  digital storytelling. I go about this process  though iterative experimentation, play and creativity.


I am Tebogo Boikanyo Matshana and I'm using visual art, illustration and 2D frame-by-frame animation towards finding ways to narrativise educational content into moving poems. 


I have a deep reaching love for storytelling, be it through digital animation, illustration as well as design; sharing a story sincerely has always been at the core of my creative practice. I have a background in the fields of Graphic as well as Interactive and Production Design. Having studied towards a postgraduate degree of a Master of Arts in Information Design through the University of Pretoria, I have cultivated an awareness of the value of visual rhetoric. Applying critical thinking when working with text and image inspires me to be intentional in every project I undertake and collaborate in creating.

wonder... how  the combination of creative and interactive visual art along with English literature, is able to permeate and enhance digital  learning practices ?


How can interactive digital content encourage users to engage with visual information in a mindful manner? 


Inspired by the premise that we learn when engaging information as stories, I trust that viewers and readers  are better equip to holistically retain information when interacting with it;

the Birdhouse Interactive platform affords me the opportunity to create, share and explore solutions that honour this particular sensibility. 


Having had hands on experience in the context of an art museum and center for artist books, I have learned that there is a  myriad of ways one can visually communicate with a reader and an audience. I have learned that, similar to the artist book form, a User Interface can be described as a trojan horse in that it requires the user’s participation and engagement in order to communicate its meaning. More to this, considering the reader's experience is always paramount when layering multimedia materials towards creating meaning. Artists books and digital visualisations are user centric by nature, the possibilities are endless. This is the approach I apply when digitally constructing information, particularly when working within the context of innovative hypermedia platforms.

Latest release
Songbird on the sea

I created this work  during an artist 

residency programme called the Boathouse Artist Residency based in Ahmedabad  India in December 2023.

The notion of crossing the ocean both physically as well as metaphorically carries significance in the context of this work. 

This digital interactive  body of work grapples with the concept of loneliness as an ocean to be traversed , through mental strength, presence of mind, strength of heart and  most importantly through the use of one's own wings.

Physical artist book coming soon!

This interactive illustrated anthology is concerned with the notion of belonging, it is concerned with the notion of drowning .  It is concerned with the notion of rowing and navigating the ocean of one’s inner most experiences. These key thematic concerns are explored through the two characters of a bird namely a blackpoll warbler and the girl. The girl is represented in doubles, her selfhood is visualised as an autonomous entity that concurrently lives outside of, beside and within herself. In a way it is an autobiographical work depicting the innermost circle of belonging to one’s own selfhood, singularity and sovereignty.


In conversation with social scientist Bréne Brown 2020, author Vivek Hallegere Murthy notes that when a vital connection is lacking in either one of the circles, we suffer great pain. Deep reaching loneliness can set in and isolate one. In my experience, the loneliness that has been with me for the longest time has become a sort of character and in my search for belonging with others around me, I have always found myself on the outskirts. This loneliness perhaps my own selfhood has always stepped in and kept me company. There are oftentimes depictions of two women. They are in fact one woman, the self mirroring the self. She is tethered to a bird namely a blackpoll warbler. The blackpoll warbler is the smallest bird of its size to achieve the transatlantic migratory feat of roughly 20 000 km from Canada to South America over the short period of two to three days. With a wing span of roughly 25-27 cm it is the only songbird of its kind able to achieve this most physically taxing journey. Even so, the blackpoll warbler succeeds . In transcending the ocean of emotions I have felt associated with my loneliness, I have considered the blackpoll warbler conquering the sea by transcending it, In this knowledge, I have found solace. The characters of both the women and the bird are interchangeable, a unit, and an expression of my own selfhood.


A poem can open a door to one’s own lived experience by reflecting someone else’s; moreover, engaging a poem can feel like being entrusted with a secret that also true to oneself. My artistic practice involves a process where I write original poetry, illustrate the text and then animate the final narrative poem using 2D frame-by-frame animation techniques. I work dominantly using Adobe Photoshop when creating illustrations and artworks. I further enhance the text by creating interactive animated versions of the poem, in this process, I often make use of Adobe Animate. Additionally, I transform original short stories into digital interactive graphic novel content. The application and its poetry work in tandem providing audiences with body of work evincing some of the universal experiences we all reckon with as human beings. My intention with the Birdhouse Interactive project is to visualise poetry using innovations in technology to enhance the storytelling process such that it involves the reader’s integral role in the process of creating meaning.

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I am...

The animated interactive poem I am... is a narrative about transcendence of external circumstances. It is a narrative about creating a home and safety within oneself, connecting with one's innate value and the infinite link to all that extends beyond oneself.

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Poemsongs in Setswana

Inspired by the principle underlying the Book Dash initiative ( namely collating  resources in illustration writing and design, towards the output of a book in a day); over the course of a week, I sought to create an interactive poem/song a day.

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a blackbird makes a sound ( second edition)

A blackbird makes a sound (the second edition) is re-titled Birdsound. The interactive poem is a digital animated reading experience that brings to the fore the concept of self affirmation through sound.


The songbird collection

The songbird collection is a compilation of poems about inspiring women who have triumphed over adversity and led inspiring lives.

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My mom is...

My mom is... is an animated poem designed as an interactive picture book. The narrative poem is about a relationship with a mother figure whos presence transcends the parameters of the physical world. It is the story of a young girl who loses her mother but comes to find her in the world all around her.


Browse my portfolio of projects below.


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