Reimagining heritage buildings as technological spaces
Authors: Westling, C., Hall, E. and Krell, M.
In the course of two immersive projects, Digital Ghost Hunt (UKRI/AHRC) and XR3 (UKRI/AHRC; in process), we have developed a framework for temporarily reconfiguring heritage buildings as technological performance spaces for roaming audiences, without the need for making any permanent changes to the fabric of the buildings. The performances produced within this framework are designed as participatory, ‘storified’ encounters with heritage buildings and their history, utilising a range of simple hand-held sensor devices (SEEK detectors, designed and built for the project), the heritage building itself, and a custom ‘ghost story’ that allows participants to uncover the history of the building. At the immediate level, our framework builds new young and young adult audiences to engage with heritage and enter the technological design process as collaborative makers and performers. Beyond this immediate level, our approach superimposes a technological space onto an architectural heritage space, emphasising its potential as an ‘experience machine’ that is animated by our movements, perceptions and actions. Reconfiguring and combining technological spaces and heritage spaces, or aim is to create a subject position that is located where they intersect, inviting participation as agents that connect and ‘caretake’.