Introducing a "haptic map" prototype

First conceptual drawing of the haptic mapFirst conceptual drawing of the "haptic map," an art and place-name installation.

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.

View from atop PKOLS, looking northward.

View from atop PKOLS, looking northward into W̱SÁNEĆ Territory, also know 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, is currently being built by artist TEMOSEṈ (aka Chazz Elliott) and me (Kim Shortreed). We hope to complete the map by April 2023 so it can be shown as part of my PhD dissertation defense (dates and times TBD).

Read more about TEMOSEṈ or more about me and why I am doing this work on the My Current Perspective page. TEMOSEṈ, who lives and works in Tsartlip First Nation, and I are working with members of the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board to respect and follow any protocols for choosing and using the SENĆOŦEN place names featured on the Untitled map. TEMOSEṈ is leading the creative and build process of the map's central, aesthetic features, with final say on the map's overall design, while I help where I can with the map's functional and technology elements.

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, or see the Reflecting posts to read 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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