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Rachel Ward, 4 min., 2015

School of Interactive Art + Technology

Simon Fraser University



Producer & Filmmaker: Rachel Ward 

Technical Director: Carey Dodge

Original soundtrack: Shannon Carruthers



With special thanks to:

Carey Dodge

Shannon Carruthers

Reese Muntean

Robert Davidson Studio

Bonerattle Music 

Philippe Pasquier

Thecla Schiphorst




UKULELE is an interactive sensory biography about the life cycle of one instrument, the ukulele. It is an exercise in non-linear, interactive narrative in which the story of the ukuele’s life is revealed by physically playing the instrument (such as kinship with its owner and eventual abandonment). By plucking the strings, it generates sensory visual memories — from the point of view of the instrument — where each note corresponds to one stage of the ukulele’s life cycle:

I. Conception (instrument construction/woodworking) [G string]

II. Birth (the purchase) [C string]

III. Life (with the owner/music) [E string]

IV. Senescence (shots of decaying wood/being abandoned at the house) [A string]


By focusing on themes of inanimate kinship, transpersonal narrative and embodiment, this interactive story conveys a visual non-human biography as based on “imagination” and “memory” (Pink 2009) and explore the potential of interactive digital narrative as a new tool in ethnographic research.


The 60+ videos and original soundtrack were recorded specifically for this piece.

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