Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, Systems & Design: Beyond Processes and Thinking

Por defecto: 
Tangible interaction in museums and temporary exhibitions: embedding and embodying the intangible values of cultural heritage
Daniele Duranti, Davide Spallazzo, Raffaella Trocchianesi

Última modificación: 17-07-2016


Moving from a design perspective, the paper explores the potential of tangible interaction in giving shape to intangible contents in museums and temporary exhibitions.

Going beyond tangibility intended in the strict sense of touching assets (Dudley 2010), we use here a wider interpretation of tangibility that considers touch in the sense of embodied experience. In this way we consider as tangible all those experiences that foster a strong involvement of the body.

Tangible interaction is interpreted as a practice able to multiply the levels of the narrative, to make the visit experience memorable and to give physicality to intangible values. This approach sees the use of tangible interaction as a way to transfer practices and rituals linked to the contents and representative of the intangible values embedded in the assets. Therefore we can identify “gesture-through” and “object-through” interactions able to enhance the visitor experience and the understanding of cultural heritage.

The rituals of gestures is linked to the concept of museum proxemics (author 2013) that involves both sensuousness and movements in space. If proxemics is the discipline which deals with investigating the relationship between individuals and space, and the significance of gestures and distances among people, then museum proxemics relates to the forms of behaviour which govern the relationship between individuals and museum space, between the visitor and the items on display and among visitors.

In the paper we outline existing practices by analysing some case studies representative of the potential of tangible interaction in the cultural heritage field and classified according to the categories in the following:

Smart replicas: visitors interact with a technology-enhanced replica of the artworks to feel sensorial aspects and activate further levels of narrative;

Symbolic objects: visitors interact with objects, icons or elements imbued with symbolic meaning as a vehicle to reach the intangible value of the cultural asset;

Touchable screens: visitors interact with a surface mediating their relationship with contents and allowing for a personalised path within them;

Perfoming gestures: visitors perform meaningful gestures in order to trigger specific effects

able to stage the narrative of intangible contents.

In conclusion we highlight three actions in the cultural experience driven by tangible interaction and matter of design: (i) interacting with a sensitive object able to trigger intangible values; (ii) revealing contents difficult to transmit; (iii) multiplying the levels of knowledge and narrative.


Palabras clave

tangible interaction, cultural heritage, intangible values, museum proxemics

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