Embodied engagement with narrative: A design framework for presenting cultural heritage artifacts with digital media

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Chu, Jean Ho
Mazalek, Ali
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This dissertation examines how digital media and physical installations can be developed and used in cultural history museums. It proposes a narrative design framework for tangible and embodied interaction to engage visitors with the cultural context of artifacts on display. The dissertation examines the literature on tangible and embodied interaction in museums, interactive narrative experience, and concepts of embodiment to build arguments about interactors’ tangible and embodied interaction with narrative as a way of taking part in and relating to that narrative. It examines museum and non-museum projects that show how digital media, embodied interaction, and narrative can be integrated. Studying existing projects highlights the need for a comprehensive framework that can be used to analyze and map the design space of tangible and embodied interaction. The dissertation proposes the Tangible and Embodied Narrative Framework (TENF) consisting of three spectra: internal vs. external, ontological vs. exploratory, and diegetic vs. non-diegetic, describing the narrative perspective, interaction with plot, and the physical mode of interaction, respectively. The dissertation presents the design and development of two case study projects, the Mapping Place and the Multi-Sensory Prayer Nuts, and demonstrates how the TENF can be used to understand design decisions. Examination of the two case studies in light of the proposed TENF helps generate design considerations for digital applications to provide museum visitors with tangible and embodied interactions and support interpreting artifacts based on their cultural context.
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