Tricksters, Technology and Spirit: Supporting the Spirit of Place with Geo and Augmented Reality Mobile

Maggie Buxton, PhD (February 2011 – February 2015)
Transdisciplinary research project in collaboration with kaumatua, mana whenua, scientists, place descendants, oral historians, archivists and hobbyists.

People Involved:
Maggie Buxton

This innovative transdisciplinary research project wove together technology, art, spirituality and science and involved collaboration across cultures, disciplines, institutions and realities.

The proposition: that geo-locative mobile technologies can support the work of those who work with spiritual sites, and also support the spirit or spirits of those places.

Geo-locative mobile technologies augment physical spaces with digital content and can act as mediators between the self, the physical world, digital worlds and other worlds beyond. Technology is not usually associated with spirit. However, in this research technology paradoxically plays a role in supporting the spirit of place and contributed to a progressive understanding of that term.

The study was situated around three spiritually significant sites: a cemetery, a marae and a wahi tapu site on a public park. On each site a geo-locative, AR experience was created for mobile devices in collaboration with a number of different experts: kaumatua, archivists, oral historians, scientists, mana whenua, place descendants, local hobbyists, geomancers and others. These experiences were then ‘tested’ on a number of individuals representing a wide range of groups associated with those sites.

From this research a number of socially innovative and educational projects have emerged in the Papakura-Manurewa area including one of New Zealand’s first AR, Geo locative marae based app projects known as Te Ngira.

Augmented Reality, Geo Locative Mobile, Place Studies, Mobility Studies, Indigenous, Sacred Spaces