Memorie, supporting the practices of memory in the graveyard
Abstract: Due to its sensitive nature, the graveyard is often an avoided problem space within the field of design. This becomes evident from the lack of exploration and analysis in this domain. Anyhow, it represents an opportunity to test how design can mediate between sacred places, technology and people. Moreover, as a very specific context, the graveyard encompasses peculiar ways of interacting and experiencing space that deserve to be taken into account. This work discusses the notions of space and place and how the field of interaction design can benefit from them. In doing so, it investigates the hidden dimensions of the graveyard that make it a complex structure where spatial, personal and socio-cultural dimensions are intertwined. While the fieldwork aims at analysing the graveyard in its different tones of meaning (identity, memorial, cultural differences, on-site interaction) the focus of the work are the practices of memory and the role that the past has in our relation with the deceased. The result of the design process is an interactive audio system composed of a playback circuit based on Arduino and boxed into a seashell. The device is designed to be placed on the grave and store audio content. Once activated, the audio seashell allows listening and eventually recording vocal traces related to the deceased’s past. Taking into account the observed practices, rules and conventions that shape the graveyard, the role of personal and collective rituals and the meanings of all the identified artifacts, the designed system supports the experience of recalling memories in respect to the atmosphere, tempo and rhythm that characterise the graveyard.
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