Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts (2015-07-01)

ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings: tangible interactions with intangible heritage

  • Reese Muntean,
  • Kate Hennessy,
  • Alissa Antle,
  • Susan Rowley,
  • Jordan Wilson,
  • Brendan Matkin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 2


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ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings is an interactive tabletop using a tangible user interface to explore intangible cultural heritage. The table was designed for the c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city exhibition. This exhibition is a partnership of three major institutions in Vancouver, BC, examining the significant ancient village site on which part of Vancouver was built, as well as Musqueam culture and community today. The tabletop uses replicas of Musqueam belongings excavated from c̓əsnaʔəm, as well as contemporary objects that are a part of everyday Musqueam life to access information about the long history of salmon fishing and the continuity of related knowledge at c̓əsnaʔəm. The design of ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings highlights the tensions between fragmentation and continuity that are central to discussions of access and preservation of intangible cultural heritage in the digital age. In this paper we discuss the tangible tabletop interface as a response to the desire to reconnect fragmented collections and physical belongings from c̓əsnaʔəm with Musqueam intangible cultural knowledge.