The Uncanny Experience of Space Through an Augmented-Reality Application: Ubiquitous Anthropology

5 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2010

Date Written: October 15, 2010


Ubiquitous Anthropology is a location-based application for mobile phones, handheld devices and personal computers, developed to be used as a polyphonic platform for ethnographic research and representation. The system is accessed through multimedia mobile devices that allow all the subjects involved in the research (anthropologists, informants and all the individuals being the object of the study) to record videos, audio, texts, images and to connect this content to specific geographic and temporal locations. All of this information is then published on a browsable, interactive map, accessible to the general public, who can navigate through this multiple, emergent, interconnected, multi-authored stream of content that shows how the same territories can be seen and interpreted in radically different points of view.

The first real-life experimentation featured a research with the Bororo population in Mato Grosso (Brazil): a complex and rare funeral ritual was recorded and documented both by a group of anthropologists and by the Bororo themselves. Their different visions were then placed on a browsable map that tried to give shape to the composite, stratified, unstable nature of the interpretation of the ritual.

Through this process of aesthetization of space, the Bororo landscape itself becomes reactive, animated and alive. Radically different narratives and memories are woven into this complex, interactive pattern where the space is familiar yet foreign at the same time, peopled by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups. This uncanny experience exposes the users of Ubiquitous Anthropology map to multiple worlds where ramifying, transmuting dynamics open up the possibility for new kinds of political actions.

Keywords: Augmented Reality, Publishing Practices, Enhanced Learning, Mathetics

Suggested Citation

Simeone, Luca and Iaconesi, Salvatore, The Uncanny Experience of Space Through an Augmented-Reality Application: Ubiquitous Anthropology (October 15, 2010). ESA Research Network Sociology of Culture Midterm Conference: Culture and the Making of Worlds, October 2010, Available at SSRN:

Luca Simeone (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Salvatore Iaconesi

Art is Open Source ( email )

United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics