Chasing Future Feelings: A Practice-led Experiment with Emergent Digital Materialities of Heritage

Tracy Ireland, Tessa Bell


High-fidelity imaging methods such as laser scanning and digital photogrammetry have captured public and professional audiences in a flurry of optimistic discourse about their capacities as forms of preservation and of archaeological recording and interpretation. With technical finesse and mastery, endangered heritage can, it is argued, be captured, re-materialized, and recovered from the forces that threaten it. As the plot concerning our ‘digital futures’ thickens, we discuss here an experimental project that offers an oblique approach to the practice of 3D visualization, one that subverts the dominance of neutral, technical field engagements. We examine digital materiality by exploring digital heritage objects as both method and site of ethnographic encounter. Orbiting the ruins of Asinou, an abandoned village in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus, with our ‘low-tech’ equipment, we sought to observe the conditions of the ‘in-between’ of two makeshift forms, each as ‘real’ as the other. We focus our thinking on the tensions of translation that play on the surface of our technically crude digital assemblages, as spaces of generative potential for speculations about encounters with emerging digital materialities, their affective capacities and status as future heritage objects.


materiality; digital materiality; digital heritage

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Copyright (c) 2021 Tracy Ireland, Tessa Bell

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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