Introducing a "haptic map" prototype

First "haptic map" protoype, the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, an art installation that teaches you place names.

What is a "haptic map"?

A haptic map is an interactive art installation concept intended to teach you Indigenous and non-Indigenous place names, or toponyms.

Haptic refers to a sense of touch, but also position and motion. This blog discusses the haptic map's first prototype, the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, which combines SENĆOŦEN and English language toponyms. A key feature of any haptic map is that interacting with it in some way will allow you to hear place names being spoken.

The Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, for example, has islands that when moved will speak their name aloud in both SENĆOŦEN and English. The Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map features lands in W̱SÁNEĆ Territory on the lands also known as the Saanich Peninsula.

Why build a haptic map? 

The haptic map has two, broad aspirations:

(1) to encourage us to think about how we experience connections to place through landscape and place names;
(2) to provide new ways to learn orally about Indigenous and settler namescapes through curiosity and play.

Haptic maps are intended to represent landscape aesthetically in some way, but without the typical Western Anglo, or W̱ENITEM, cartographic marks like roads, signs, and borders. A haptic map is intended to invite you to engage physically and creatively with its artistic topography and to learn place names in unconventional ways.

Who is making the first haptic map?

The Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, the first haptic map prototype, was built collaboratively. Kim Shortreed came up with the concept for a "haptic map" as part of his PhD project, "Contracolonial Practices in Salish Sea Namescapes." Kim brought the idea to TEMOSEṈ Chazz Elliott and they co-created the concept for the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map. TEMOSEṈ designed and carved the outside panels with help from Matthew Parlby-Elliott. Kim built the map's structure (with help from TEMOSEṈ, Matt, and Ben Olsen) and the interactive islands. Jesse Campbell painted the seascape horizon.

See the Credits and Hí sw̱ Ke/gratitudes post to learn more about all the folks and organizations that made this project possible!

Read more about TEMOSEṈ or more about me and why I am doing this work on the My Current Perspective page.

Can I build my own version of a haptic map?

Yes! The goal of the haptic-map concept and this blog is to inspire other communities to make their own versions of a haptic maps in whatever way that works for them. This blog focuses on the making of the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, which has its own design and construction journey, but we want to encourge others to build on what we have done to imagine something new.

What next?

Please check out the sections of this blog that might interest you. If you want to learn about making the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map, go the posts labeled Creating. Read the Reflecting posts to learn more about some of the thinking that went into the haptic map concept and the Untitled ṮEṮÁĆES map.

If you have any questions about anything, please get in touch with me using the contact form at the bottom of any post. Welcome and ÁȽE¸ E SW̱ U¸ ͸ OL¸.


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