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Virtual Recollection: Artifact Engagement in Three-Dimensional Environments

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posted on 22.11.2021, 01:03 by Achten, Ryan

Cultural institutions, specifically libraries, museums, and archives, have long been recognised for their collection and preservation of artifacts as a means of conserving cultural memory. With an emergence of digital modes of archiving, an emphasis has been placed on reproducing existing physical artifacts as digital representations and archival of born-digital media. Within the common practice of representing three-dimensional digital artifacts as two-dimensional counterparts, only a facet of the original artifact is represented; omitting valuable spatial and contextual information while precluding opportunities for new forms of artifactual engagement.  By adopting the gaming engine Unity3D, software for interfacing with archive collections was developed to explore how digital three-dimensional spatiality within cultural institution practice may enhance interaction between users and artifacts. Using a combination of configuration, probe, and abstract experimentalist devices, this research explored ways users may engage with digital artifacts in their native spatiality, and the opportunities or limitations these interactions may give rise to. By exploiting diegetic space intrinsic within interfaces, environmental narratives may become powerful tools when communicating and understanding artifactual information. This paper delineates aspects of narrative potential within artifacts and their surrounding environment possible through three-dimensional representation.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Langelaar, Walter