Title:Emergent Storytelling: Interactive Transmedia Installation for Digital Cultural Heritage
Authors:Vibeke Sorensen
Publication:MWF2014: Museums and the Web Florence 2014

This paper reviews several case studies of interactive transmedia installation that focus on tangible and intangible global cultural heritage. As a form of “experimental ethnographic documentary” for the preservation and extension of living cultural memories, Morocco Memory II (1999), Sanctuary (2005), Illuminations (2013), and Borubudur and Prambanan (2014), use networked computer systems, sensors, and physical computing to integrate database narrative, text, poetry, handcraft, music, photography, film, as well as indigenous living plants and traditional spices. The interactive transmedia approach was developed by the author as a way of providing audiences the means to dynamically engage cultural knowledge, experiences, and memories within an immersive multisensory environment designed to both heighten and deepen the emotional and intellectual experience of the content. These works draw on concepts and structures in neuroscience, ecology, mathematics (combinatorics), and music (polyrhythms), and result in a form of “emergent storytelling.” Ubiquitous computing and embedded systems allow each member of the audience to individually and collectively explore and associate the multimedia content, thereby extending traditional and contemporary media and artforms. These works employ objects from material cultures and everyday life as “implicit” interfaces in the digital systems, and in this way provide entry for people from many walks of life.