How to stimulate tourists' curiosity about history in a playful way?
Created for the Communication Design course at the UID Interaction Design programme, Tangible stories is an interactive open air installation, proposed to increase the flow and connect tourists to the Natural Sciences museum in Abisko, Sweden.
The opportunity area was identified after several field trips to Abisko National Park. The relation between families with small kids and the environment is currently weak due to factors such as Permanence - most tourists stay from 2 to 4 days; Motivation - the most common intent is to spot northern lights.
In the meantime, the families try to find activities to fill the day while waiting for these natural phenomena; Infrastructure - Abisko doesn’t have any recreation park or playground to entertain kids; and Information - the lack of displayed information about the place’s history make it difficult to absorb and understand its importance.
As a result, most of the parents struggle to create a richer experience to themselves and their kids. To enhance the family’s experience without affecting their desire to stay outdoors, the installation was created allowing simple interactions, as in a playground.
Beyond the sports activities
The first installation recreates the geological principle of mountain formation. Since Abisko was previously a glacier for many millions of years, its mountains have a smooth silhouette.
Taking the human as the weight element, the installation change it’s shape. If the person is approaching from one side, the other will react to it. Multiple persons approaching it simultaneously will make the shape stable and smooth.
Human & Myth
The second installation refers to the indigenous population of the region: the Samis. Attracted by the lake Torneträsk and guided through the mountain formation Lapportalen, the Samis had many legends related to natural phenomena.
Inspired by one of them, the Aurora Fox, the installation allow the visitors to create their own aurora by tapping the sami drum inside the tipi. As fast and constant the drum is hit, the faster the fox will run and eventually transform itself in the aurora.
The third and last installation guides the visitor to Naturum. By jumping from stone to stone the visitors can discover paths and connections related to symbolic animals of the region. Based on the way the visitors interact with the path, light and sound will guide them to the next step and reveal the animal defined by their speed and strength.
Exploring the Arctic Circle
Even if this project was realised in a couple of weeks, we as students were cultivating a relation with Abisko since the start of the academic year. We started with an ethnographic research phase, combining tourist’s personal stories and impressions with our own by visiting and using touristic facilities. After that we formulated our own briefings to solve a communication problem. This project was presented with a simple interactive prototype of the second installation.