The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Centre for Memory Studies has unveiled the revolutionary ‘MovingMemory’ app, combining the cutting-edge technologies of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to capture dynamic models of memory through digital reconstruction. This groundbreaking app can be accessed through both mobile applications (Android and iOS) and browser-based platforms, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for a wide range of users.
Developed with the metaverse in mind, ‘MovingMemory’ is a spatial app that transcends conventional boundaries, offering users the ability to select avatars and navigate immersive three-dimensional spaces. It boasts additional layers of video, audio, 3D images, and interactive elements, making it a valuable tool for both educational and research purposes, with a particular focus on sustainability and heritage-oriented approaches.
The official launch of ‘MovingMemory’ took place during the second annual Indian Network for Memory Studies conference, themed ‘Memory, Ecology, and Sustainability.’ This international event, hosted by the Indian Network for Memory Studies and the Centre for Memory Studies at IIT Madras from September 20th to 22nd, 2023, saw a prestigious lineup of speakers and participants.
The conference was inaugurated by Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras, alongside Ms. Seema Massot, Director of the American Centre, US Consulate General, Chennai, Prof. Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras, and faculty coordinators Dr. Avishek Parui and Dr. Merin Simi Raj.
Prof. Kamakoti emphasized the critical role of collective memory in shaping policies related to ecological issues, such as climate change, highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to memory studies.
The conference brought together approximately 100 presenters and over 500 non-presenting participants from across India and around the world, including the USA, U.K., Germany, New Zealand, Morocco, Canada, Sweden, and Bangladesh. Its overarching goal was to explore human-centric technologies and policies concerning cultural memory and sustainable development, both within India and globally.
Dr. Avishek Parui, Associate Professor of English and Conference Coordinator, explained that the event aimed to bridge technology studies and humanities to create a more comprehensive framework for understanding memory, ecology, and sustainability. This approach seeks to address issues ranging from disaster studies to anticipatory governance and durability.
The conference sought to establish connections between the act of remembering and experiencing the environment and various sustainability systems, encompassing material, cultural, and technological dimensions. It examined how these systems adapt to significant events like disasters and floods, as well as gradual processes of change.
Prof. Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras, emphasized the importance of revisiting pre-modern memory and resilience practices and integrating them with post-modern approaches to enhance our understanding of ecology and sustainability. He underscored how these interdisciplinary practices are reshaping the landscape of humanities education and research.
Ms. Seema Massot, Director of the American Centre, US Consulate General, Chennai, encouraged collaboration between the Centre for Memory Studies at IIT Madras and the American Centre, envisioning digital interactive and immersive models as key tools for addressing issues such as water preservation, climate change, and eco-friendly living.
Dr. Merin Simi Raj, Associate Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, highlighted the importance of institutional collaborations and industry partnerships with institutions like the University of St. Andrews, Durham University, Titan Company Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services, and Ernst and Young. These collaborations have played a pivotal role in fostering interdisciplinary and industry-oriented research at the Centre for Memory Studies. ‘MovingMemory’ app stands as a testament to these collaborative possibilities and has the potential to become a model for addressing the challenges of digital security.
The ‘MovingMemory’ app marks a significant milestone in the field of memory studies, offering a dynamic platform for exploring and preserving collective memories while embracing cutting-edge technologies.