"Built on Bones" is an idea for an augmented reality (AR) application that uses geolocated data to situate the user within a network of skeletal cities. It layers our everyday landscapes with the skeletal landmarks of colonialism and challenges those of us who are priviledged enough to escape the everyday landscapes to face our heritage - a way to not just remember, but to reconcile and decolonize the past.
This incredible piece was awarded the runner up prize in our online, solo competition. Katherine also recieved th judge's choice prize from Imran Ali.
Read on to find out more about this inspiring project and engage with our judges comments. Be sure to check out the paradata document for more information on the direction this project will take in future development.
The entire #THJ2017 team loved this concept and were captivated by the potential it showed for tackling issues faced within heritage rhetoric. Paul Backhouse stated that it was "an excellent idea and approach to a very real interpretative issue. the approach taken is designed to challenge and make the viewer think. The design is beautiful, creative and well implemented." Imran Ali liked "the subversive nature of the AR experience and the paradata" stating that it "was an exceptionally strong prototype of future development."
For constructive critique the judges noted the potential to refine the imagery in the app to make it more polished. Matthew Tyler-Jones discussed how an app might also cause barriers for use, given the need to download and use technology - something that all of us engaged in digital creativity grapple with. Additionally Imran was "interested in discussing further how the app can open dialogue, reconciliation and discourse beyond the AR experience."
The app dealt with difficult heritage themes in a way that was both thought provoking and creative. The potential of this piece to subvert the norm was immediately evident and we look forward to further discussion and development on this fabulous visualization.
Imran Ali selected this for his judge's choice award stating "I loved the subversive tone of this work, drawing attention to the impact of colonialism all around us with an unexpected, subversive and even playful tone. It's a great illustration of where AR could be used to truly offer alternative lenses for exploring the environment around us. It spoke to me on a personal level too, both as a produce of colonial history and as the beneficiary of post-colonial migrations. I also really got a lot from the account of the project's journey that Katherine provided and would love to see the work developed further (maybe with our in-house AR guru!)"
About the Creator
Dr. Katherine Cook is an archaeologist and historian, focused on digital public archaeology and colonial/post-colonial heritage in the Atlantic. She has pursued research and partnerships with museums in Canada, the Caribbean, and the UK and is currently based in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria (on the traditional territory of the WS’ANEC’, Lkwungen, and Wyomilth peoples), where she is a settler/visitor. She is interested in ways in which digital technology can be used to change perspectives on the past to build empathy, community and connection in the present.
She appreciates and acknowledges assistance in editing imaging files by Chrissy Taylor, and all that she has learned about decolonization of heritage from her colleagues, students, and museum partnerships in BC.