Transformative Heritage

Open Source, Insurgent Nationalism, and Augmented Memories


  • Liron Efrat University of Toronto
  • Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro



digital cultural heritage, locative media, mobile Augmented Reality, digital memory, open-source culture, Google Open Heritage


In this paper, we analyze some of the platforms and technologies that influence the manner in which we interact and experience historical sites and heritage. Acknowledging that history is a constructed narration of the past, this paper demonstrates how contemporary technologies have agency in reconstructing histories in the present via digital platforms. By comparing online platforms for digital heritage production like Google Heritage with Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) platforms, we demonstrate how digital heritage may undergo a process recontextualization or decontextualization from its originating settings.

We also show that digital heritage’s reconstruction of history is done through the act of remediation: by turning actual remnants of the past into digital models or by replacing such remnants with virtual representation that are globally accessible, something new is created and alternative stories can be told. Within that, we consider some of the ethical issues that are raised by the migration of historical narratives into digital platforms, as we point towards a growing tendency in which history and its production can be subjected to major data companies.


Avram, Horea. (2014). Augmented Reality. Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. M. Kelly (ed.). Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press: 232–236.

Azuma, Ronald T. (1997). "A survey of augmented reality." Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments 6 (4): 355-385. DOI:

Barney, Darin, Gabriella Coleman, Christine Ross, Jonathan Sterne, and Tamar Tembeck, Eds. (2016). The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age. University of Minnesota Press.

Baudrillard, Jean. (1994). Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press. DOI:

Beiguelman, Giselle. (2015). Aesthetics of the Digital Ruins and the Future of Art Conservation. ISEA 2015.

Beiguelman, Giselle and Giovanna Casimiro. (2017). "Memories of Amnesia." from

Beiguelman Giselle, Giovanna Casimiro, and Nathalia Lavigne (2017). The Online Counter-collector, the Open Source Heritage and the Museums of the Unfinished. ISEA 2017.

Bolter Jay David, Blair Macintyre, Maribeth Gandy, and Petra Schweitzer (2006). "New media and the permanent crisis of aura." Convergence 12(1): 21-39. DOI:

Bolter Jay David and Richard Grusin. (2000). Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Carneiro, Raquel. (2018). "Incêndios destroem um patrimônio cultural por ano no Brasil." Veja Magazine, Sept. 3. Retrieved Dec. 25, 2019, from

Cooley, Heidi Rae. (2017). It’s All about the Fit: The Hand, The Mobile Screenic Device and the Tactile Vision. The Screen Media Reader: Culture, Theory, Practice. S. Monteiro (ed.). New York, NY, Bloomsbury Academic: 319 – 325. DOI:

De Souza e Silva, Adriana. (2006). "From cyber to hybrid: Mobile technologies as interfaces of hybrid spaces." Space and Culture 9 (3): 261-278. DOI:

Doig-Acuna, Dante. (2018). Augmenting Reality in the Black Monuments Project. Medium, Feb. 23.

Duke, Adrian. (2018). "Wikiup." Retrieved Jan. 11, 2019, from

Farman, Jason. (2013). Mobile interface theory: Embodied space and locative media. Routledge. DOI:

Fisher, Marc. (2020). “Confederate statues: In 2020, a renewed battle in America’s enduring Civil War”. The Washington Post, June 11. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from

Gilbert, Shanlon. (2017). "Explode the Museum: Echoes of the Explosion and the “Wild West” of Interpretation." The IJournal, 2(3).

Gordon, Eric and Adriana de Souza e Silva (2011). Net locality: Why location matters in a networked world. John Wiley & Sons. DOI:

Hillis, Ken. (1999). Digital Sensations: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality. University of Minnesota Press. DOI:

Hörl, Erich. (2018). "The environmentalitarian situation: Reflections on the becoming-environmental of thinking, power, and capital." Cultural politics 14(2): 153-173. DOI:

Huhtamo, Erkki. (2018). Museums, interactivity, and the tasks of "exhibition anthropology". Museum and Archive on the Move: Changing Cultural Institutions in the Digital Era. Oliver Grau, Wendy and Rühse, Viola. Berlin & Boston, De Gruyter. DOI:

Huyssen, Andreas. (2000). "Present pasts: Media, politics, amnesia." Public Culture 12(1): 21-38. DOI:

Kalay Yehuda, Thomas Kvan and Janice Affleck, Ed. (2008). New Heritage: New Media and Cultural Heritage. London, Routledge. DOI:

Lemos, Anders. (2008). "Mobile communication and new sense of places: a critique of spatialization in cyberculture." Revista Galáxia, São Paulo 16: 91-108.

Liestøl, Gunnar and Larry Friedlander (2013). "Jerusalem's holy mount: On palimpsestic places in situated and sensory media." Digital Heritage International Congress (DigitalHeritage) IEEE 1: 429-432. DOI:

Los Angeles Times Staff. (2020). “Where have statues of Confederates, and other historical figures, been removed?”. Los Angeles Times, June 16. Retrieve June 26, 2020 from

Manovich, Lev. (2006). "The Poetics of Augmented Space." Visual Communication 5 (2): 219-240. DOI:

McLuhan, Marshall. (1964). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: New American Library.

Meyrowitz, Joshua. (1986). No sense of place: The impact of electronic media on social behavior. Oxford University Press.

Mic. (2018). "The Black Monuments Project." from

Milgram Paul, Haruo Takemura, Akira Utsumi, Fumio Kishino (1994). Augmented Reality: A Class of Displays on the Reality-Virtuality Continuum. SPIE [The International Society for Optical Engineering] Proceedings 2351: Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies. DOI:

Myburgh, Brittany. (2018). "Here and Now: Indigenous Canadian Perspectives and New Media in Works by Ruben Komangapik, Kent Monkman and Adrian Duke." Leonardo 51(4): 394-398. DOI:

Parr, Adrian. (2005). Deterritorialisation/Reterritorialisation. The Deleuze Dictionary. Adrian Parr (ed.), Edinburgh University Press: 69-72.

Roncolato, Murilo. (2018). "Por que museus e acervos científicos estão queimando no Brasil." Nexo, Sept. 5. Retrieved Dec. 25, 2019, from

Simon, Nina. (2010). The Participatory Museum. Museum 2.0.

Smith, Laurajane. (2006). Uses of Heritage. New York, Routledge. DOI:

Verhoeff, Nanna. (2017). Performative Cartography. The Screen Media Reader: Culture, Theory, Practice. S. Monteiro (ed.). New York, NY, Bloomsbury Academic: 435-449. DOI:

Wright, Rewa. (2018). Interface Is the Place: Augmented Reality and the Phenomena of Smartphone–Spacetime. Mobile Story Making in an Age of Smartphones. Marsha Berry and Max Schleser (eds.) Springer: 117-125. DOI:

Zuboff, Shoshana. (2015). Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30 (1), 75-89. DOI:

Zuboff, Shoshana. (2019). The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. New York, PublicAffairs.






Digital Heritage In Cultural Conflicts