Performing History

Performing History

We’ve been away from blogging for a while because we have been developing a project called Performing History. The project uses a mobile phone and GPS application (or app) to help guide users across the urban terrain and to interact with it virtually throughout history. This app allows the user to choose an identity/avatar to embody and interact with a historical environment. The platform we intend to use is called ARIS, which was developed by the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The game requires players to have basic cell-phone knowledge, including how to upload a picture, tag an image, or record a video. Users will work their way through the game, utilizing creative problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles in the historical narrative. Sometimes the game will ask them to encounter a historical context as well as respond to it, and have agency in the story. By doing this, users will create possible histories and have more buy-in within the process of engagement with subject. Users will also be able to interact with each other, developing more complex narratives.
The game will deal directly with Lawrence’s rich history, from its origins as an abolitionist town to the early life of Langston Hughes and other prominent African Americans who lived here. Delving into this history will help users to see the time and place they currently live in with new eyes. The game will also make history more engaging for participants, giving them an entryway to further scholarship and a relationship with the past. One of the main goals for the project is to give users what the sociologist Victor Turner called a “liminoid” experience—an experience of personal and social ambiguity, with multiple possible outcomes. Role-play games often provide liminoid experiences for players, giving them an opportunity to consider life through the eyes of others.
Reference Link – http://arisgames.org/

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