The Ethics of Engagement: Designing for Augmented Reality Experiences at Sites of Dark Tourism

Hribhav Panchal

Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, India


Vol: 12, Issue: 4, 2022

Receiving Date: 2022-09-09 Acceptance Date:


Publication Date:


Download PDF


Various augmented reality (AR) experiences are located in or connected to places of anguish, pain, and death. The existing AR scholarship has not addressed the ethical design, development, and facilitation of these encounters. This study offers fundamental guidelines for how AR might be ethically constructed to promote a respectful experience to close this knowledge gap. Dark tourism is a subfield of tourism studies that refers to any form of travel that involves tragedy, horror, misery, or murder. Based on this research, the report makes several recommendations for developing moral AR experiences at dark tourist destinations before, during, and after a visit. AR can become a moral and practical extension of contemplating mortality if spectacle is controlled in these unsettling locations. The study offers design recommendations for morally acceptable AR experiences for dark tourism destinations already involved in the marketing and consumption of the macabre.

Keywords: augmented reality (AR); Dark tourism; Ethics of Engagement


  1. L. Kaelber, 'A Memorial as Virtual Traumascape: Darkest Tourism in 3D and Cyber-Space to the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz,' e-Review of Tourism Research, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 24- 33, 2007.
  2. D. Golańska, 'Affective spaces, sensuous engagements: In quest of a synaesthetic approach to 'dark memorials',' International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 773-790, 2015.
  3. J. B. Sabra, A. H. Jørgen and K. Rodil, 'Hybrid cemetery culture: Making death matter in cultural heritage using smart mobile technologies,' in 2015 International Conference on Culture and Computing, Kyoto, 2015.
  4. J. D. Bolter, B. MacIntyre, M. Gandy and P. Schweitzer, 'New Media and the Permanent Crisis of Aura,' Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol. 1, pp. 21-39, 12 2006.
  5. M. Engberg, 'Augmented And Mixed Reality Design For Contested And Challenging Histories,' Cleveland, 2017.
  6. A. V. Seaton, 'Thanatourism and its discontents: An appraisal of a decade's work with some future issues and directions,' in The Sage handbook of tourism studies, T. Jamal and M. Robinson, Eds., London, Sage, 2009.
  7. D. Light, 'Progress in dark tourism and thanatourism research: An uneasy relationship with heritage tourism,' Tourism Management, vol. 61, pp. 275-301, 2017.
  8. P. R. Stone, 'Dark tourism and significant other death. Towards a Model of Mortality Mediation,' Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 1565-1587, 2012.
  9. P. Stone and R. Sharpley, 'Consuming dark tourism: A Thanatological Perspective,' Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 574-595, 2008.
  10. W. Benjamin, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,' in Illuminations, H. A. ., Ed., New York,, Schocken, 1936.
  11. F. Boyles, 'Andersonville: A site steeped in controversy,' in Horror and human tragedy revisited: The management of sites of atrocities for tourism, G. Ashworth and R. Hartmann, Eds., New York, Cognizant Communication Corporation, 2005.
  12. W. F. S. Miles, 'Auschwitz: Museum Interpretation and Darker Tourism,' Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 29, no. 4, p. 1175– 1178, 2002.
  13. S. Snibe, 'Scott Snibbe Of Sona Research Discusses A Distinct Form Of Augmented Reality Focused On Social Interaction: Social Immersive Media.,' The Tweet Twins Online World, 1 February 2010. [Online]. Available: ct-form-of-augmented- realityfocused- on-social-interaction-social-immersive-media/. [Accessed 29 June 2017].
  14. G. Gliozzo, M. Vitos and M. Stevens, 'From education to action: How technology enables public participation in the context of environmental conservation,' ExCiteS Research Group, Lodon, 2012.
  15. C. Stapleton, E. Smith and C. E. Hughes, 'The art of nurturing citizen scientists through mixed reality,' in Fourth IEEE and ACM International Symposium on Augmented and Mixed Reality, Vienna, 2005.
  16. P. C. Pezzullo, 'This is the only tour that sells': tourism, disaster, and national identity in New Orleans,' Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 99-114, 2009.
  17. D. Pacheco, S. Wierenga, P. Omedas, L. Oliva, S. Wilbricht, S. Billib, H. Knoch and P. Verschure, 'A location- based Augmented Reality system for the spatial interaction with historical datasets.,' Digital Heritage, vol. 1, pp. 393- 396, 2015.
  18. J.-e. Shin, J. Kim and W. Woo, 'Narrative design for Rediscovering Daereungwon: A location-based augmented reality game,' in IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics, Las Vegas, 2017.
  19. O. N. Newton, D. Chamika, P. Natalie and N. Ryohei, 'Mobile augmented reality for Bukit Brown cemetery navigation,' Singapore, 2012.
  20. T. Holz, A. G. Campbell, G. M. P. Ohare, J. W. Stafford, A. Martin and M. Dragone, 'MiRA-mixed reality agents,' International Journal of Human Computer Studies, vol. 69, no. 4, pp. 251-268, 2011.
  21. M. Ma, S. Coward and C. Walker, 'Question-Answering Virtual Humans Based on Pre-recorded Testimonies for Holocaust Education,' in Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, Cham, Springer, 2017.
  22. M. Isaacs, 'Hologram technology in Holocaust Museum exhibit immortalizes survivors' stories,' Chicago Tribune, 2 November 2017. [Online]. Available: museum-take-a-stand-tl-1102-20171101-story.html. [Accessed 28 June 2018].
  23. J. Ruby, 'Post-mortem portraiture in America,' History of Photography, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 201-222. , 1984.
  24. S. Dow, J. Lee, C. Oezbek, B. MacIntyre, J. D. Bolter and M. Gandy, 'Exploring spatial narratives and mixed reality experiences in Oakland Cemetery,' Valencia, 2005.
  25. N. Osbaldiston and T. Petray, 'The Role of Horror and Dread in the Sacred Experience,' Tourist Studies , vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 175 - 190, 2011.
  26. J. Nawijn, R. K. Isaac, A. v. Liempt and K. Gridnevskiy, 'Emotion clusters for concentration camp memorials,' Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 61, p. 213–267, 2016.
  27. K. Outterson, E. Selinger and K. Whyte, 'Poverty Tourism, Justice, and Policy,' Public Integrity, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 39-50, 2011.
  28. M. Graham, M. Zook and A. Boulton, 'Augmented reality in urban places: Contested content and the duplicity of code,' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 464-479, 2013.
  29. M. Skwarek, 'Augmented reality activism.,' in Augmented Reality Art, Cham, Springer, 2017, pp. 3-40.
  30. N. JafariNaimi, 'MRx as a participatory platform,' Digital Creativity, no. March, 2015.
  31. NextShark Editorial Staff, 'Pokémon Go Angers People After a Koffing is Found in a Holocaust Museum,' NextShark inc, 13 July 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 7 July 2018].
  32. S. Gaudenzi, 'The Living Documentary: from representing reality to co-creating reality in digital interactive documentary,' London, 2013.
  33. K. Foote, 'Heritage tourism, the geography of memory, and the politics of place in Southeastern Colorado,' Denver, 2009.
  34. W. Benjamin, 'What is epic theater?,' Illuminations, no. 147- 153, 1968.
  35. C. Strange and M. Kempa, 'Shades of dark tourism: Alcatraz and Robben Island,' Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 386-405, 2003.
  36. J. Sather-Wagstaff, Heritage that hurts: Tourists in the memory scapes of September 11, Routledge, 2016.

Disclaimer: All papers published in IJRST will be indexed on Google Search Engine as per their policy.

We are one of the best in the field of watches and we take care of the needs of our customers and produce replica watches of very good quality as per their demands.