‘Apparitions’ are a series of artworks by Luciana Haill experienced as a layer of ‘augmented reality’ when using a special application that triggers them, revealing heritage & social memory elements lost in wars, storms and during rapid gentrification. They appear by viewing special vintage postcards of the lost historical sites using smartphone cameras.

The lost landmarks of Apparitions are :

1. St Leonards Pier (destroyed in WWII)
Located between Crown House & Goodmans, seafront across the road from the Royal Victoria Hotel, St Leonards Marina, Hastings TN38 0BD

2. The Prince Albert Memorial Clocktower, (damaged by arson in 1972 and torn down in 1973). The Memorial stood on the road that now leads from Harold Place to Havelock Road. Hastings town centre TN34 1JB

3. Edwardian Beach huts in Bexhill (along the seafront west of the Bexhill Angling club on The De La Warr parade TN40)
Similar huts are to be found in Bulverhythe beach, West St Leonards next to The Bathing hut cafe TN38 0FD

The first series made in 2018 were inspired by lost Victorian landmarks from her hometown of Hastings, East Sussex. The new series ‘Pioneer‘ takes the audience to revisit the late Victorian Magnus Volk’s sea-faring train affectionately known as ‘Daddy long legs’ by postcard markers, and geotagged in Brighton to it’s original tracks.

” 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.”

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.’

The 65 ft tall Memorial in its heyday in sepia (left), next to an early version triggered by Apparitions in AR (centre) and a colour view from the 1960s as it became isolated in a traffic island.

Artist Luciana Haill was inspired to create Apparitions 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

Based on the finest details of engineer Richard St George Moore, we made Apparitions in 3D software SketchUp precisely from the original pier’s dimensions.

The Apparitions are St Leonards Pier (demolished after damage from storms and WWII), the Albert Clocktower Memorial (damaged by fire in 1972 and demolished for scrap ) and Edwardian beach huts in Bexhill (lost to storms in 1907). By triggering an Apparition in a view resembling the original vintage postcard or photograph, we enter a hyper mediated experience.

*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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