About

‘Apparitions’ – augmented reality artworks by Luciana Haill 2018 – to present

‘Apparitions’ are a series of artworks experienced as an ‘augmented reality’ when using a special application that triggers them, revealing heritage & social memory  elements lost in wars, council traffic control and storms during rapid gentrification in my hometown of Hastings, East Sussex.

The Apparitions are of St Leonards Pier (destroyed in WWII), the Albert Clocktower Memorial (lost to fire in 1973) and Bexhill beach huts ( lost to storms in 1907 )

They appear by viewing special vintage postcards of the lost historical sites using smartphone cameras. This does not involve data tracking, GPS or any data usage once it is installed on any iOS (Apple) device.

Until the 1960s the act of looking back, or ‘nostalgic reminiscing’ was seen by the medical profession as a pathological aspect of ageing (causing or exacerbating depression & disengagement from everyday life). This changed when a paper by Psychiatrist Robert Butler challenged these views, coining the term ‘ageism.’

Elevating vintage postcards into digitally enabled missives that can now embed the past into the future interested philosopher Mark Fisher, reinvigorating the term ‘hauntological’ originally described by Jean Baudrillard as a simulation and a simulacrum.

These steganographic multimedia articles offer several levels of engagement : uncanny bygone landscapes both real and imagined, self-selecting experiences that also include factual historical presences anchored in surreal soundtracks for each one.

Here I have triggered the Apparition in a view resembling the vintage postcard or photograph, the map has changed, the territory is the same

” The effect of Apparitions brings to mind a form of modern-day conjuring or ‘seancing’ of ghosts or phantasms. A form of assisted imaginative time travel enables you to peer through a portal and down the corridors of history.”

Here is a short video exploring a postcard trigger and a larger A3 sized printout:

As I experimented with the first Apparition of the Victorian Clocktower I discovered that different sizes of the clocktower trigger images affected the size of the clocktower output in the room.

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The Memorial clocktower in the centre of Hastings was torched by arsonists in 1973

Artist Luciana Haill was inspired to create in AR after a visit to the concrete ‘Sound Mirrors’ on their annual open day in Denge, Kent. Here she was stimulated to combine her enquiry into emerging virtual digital & technologies with resurrecting obsolete & lost heritage. Her previous artworks explore her fascination with the relationship of history, new technologies, memory & dreams. These spectacular remnants of a dead-end technology from WWI can reveal more of a story if combined with augmented reality. Generously funded by The Arts Council of England (focussing on her hometown since 2012 of Hastings & St Leonards) – the app is free to download

Edwardian Beach huts are fired across the channel, over Hasting’s pier

Based on the finest detailed Apparitions model that was made precisely from the original pier’s dimensions in 3D software SketchUp

These short movies shows you how the pier is triggered with sounds of bygone events when viewed through the app on an iPad or iPhone


The three demolished &  lost heritage sites are triggered from Apparitions postcards that were distributed for free in 2018 across town in libraries and hotels. Here are the original locations of the lost sites so you can take a photo in the same scene:

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1. Memorial Clocktower, Hastings, TN34 1JB, (lost to fire in 1973)
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2. St Leonards Pier,  St Leonards, Marina, Hastings TN38 0BD (destroyed in WWII)

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3. Edwardian Beach huts, West Parade, Bexhill, TN39 3HX,(destroyed by storms 1907).

A6 postcard teapot
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Here are two excerpts from ‘death of a beach hut’ experience :


The three experiences allowing a glitching, time travel, potentially creating a nostalgia for a future we cannot experience and each is accompanied by a soundscape encapsulating its lifetime: St Leonards Pier (destroyed in WWII) & the Albert Memorial (lost to fire in 1973) and Edwardian beach huts (destroyed by storms 1907).

Until the 1960s the act of looking back, or nostalgic reminiscing was seen by the medical profession as a pathological aspect of ageing (causing or exacerbating depression & disengagement from everyday life). American Psychiatrist Robert Butler challenged these views popularised the term ‘Ageism.’ The platform of ‘AR’ enables me to exploit this and deliver an expandable series of artworks in a significant exploration of the impact of cutting edge ‘augmented reality’ technologies on memory & nostalgia.As contemporary degrading or invisible urban palimpsests, they offer several levels of engagement: uncanny bygone landscapes both real and imagined, self-selecting experiences that also include factual historical presences anchored in surreal soundtracks.

 

Apparitions are visual, sonic and metaphysical, their role as artworks is also to preserve and share social memory and lost heritage as simulacra during rapid gentrification.Due to processor power limitations in current smartphones (technology is the medium my work is experienced through), the visual appearance is still not fully realised and has to be reduced many times to fit within a limited resolution calculated from the number of polygons in each model.

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The old metal teapot approaches you, bobbing about on an invisible sea. You get a sense of itself and its past, a vessel for holding liquid is now empty, buoyant and surrounded by water.  This lowly tarnished object is the only survivor from a storm that swept its environment of a beach hut out to sea, along with many more. This is triggered from a postcard depicting a picnic outside a Bexhill beach hut and is narrated by the voice of someone with fond memories of this place. In addition, you can encounter bygone sites that

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Hastings Independent Newspaper featured ‘Apparitions’ on 02.11.18 you can read it online here
 

Apparitions launched on 1st September 2018 coinciding with a local arts festival called Coastal Currents which is a mixture of traditional artists and others exploring changes in a seaside town facing gentrification. The launch was in The Alley (Rock Alley) in Hastings Town Centre: the Victorian commercial and civic centre of the town, with some earlier buildings (many listed) especially around the ‘Trinity Triangle’ part of the old ‘America Ground’).

This is very close to the original site of the Memorial Clocktower. On Saturday 01.09.18 over 100 persons came and explored the app on our iPads and were invited to download onto their own devices. I also presented a talk in a bookshop and the main launch of Apparitions’ showcase event was held in Hastings Museum on 22.09.18 (who hold related objects in their collection).

My artist’s talk revealed a lot of visual research and gained stories, and the public revealed their memories, particularly about the night of The Memorial’s arson attack. When someone held a postcard and experienced the floating model and soundtrack, it provoked their recall of the band playing the pier that night as they walked home and saw The Memorial ablaze.ously conveyed by its current & precedent ambitious Victorian settlers. 

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Lost heritage sites represent each with a time spanning binaural sonic signatures encapsulating their heyday. Victorian architecture & experiences are triggered by vintage postcards & by taking a photo when visiting its bygone location. Realised from museum archives & interviews including St Leonards pier, The Memorial &  proposed next version will include Priory Meadow Cricket Ground, St Leonards Church and the Bathing Pool / Lido. Each stereo soundscapes for a site will create a sonic signature conveying news, music and environmental ambience during the lifetime of the site. 

 
SL Pier plan sketchup
SLpier 6-The-1920s
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Platform development with Deuxality

*AR / Augmented Reality from Wikipedia :
Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactoryThe overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment) or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment) and is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world such that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment. In this way, augmented reality alters one’s ongoing perception of a real-world environment, whereas virtual reality completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one. Augmented reality is related to two largely synonymous terms: mixed reality and computer-mediated reality.

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