‘Apparitions’ are a series of artworks by Luciana Haill experienced as a layer of ‘augmented reality’ when using a special application, 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 and their GPS function.
The lost landmarks of Apparitions are :
By triggering an Apparition in a view resembling the original vintage postcard or photograph, we enter a hyper-mediated experience of uncanny nostalgic time travel. They each have binaural soundscapes that further immerse the audience with period activities and aspects from their lifetimes.
The Prince Albert Memorial Clocktower (damaged by arson in 1972 and torn down in 1973). The Memorial stood on a traffic roundabout amongst roads that now lead from Harold Place to Havelock Road. Hastings town centre TN34 1JB
St Leonards Pier (opened 1891 and destroyed in 1952). Located on the seafront opposite The Royal Victoria Hotel and Crown House, St Leonards Marina, TN38 0BD
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, Cinque ports way in West St Leonards next to The Bathing hut cafe TN38 0FD
Artist Luciana Haill realised *augmented reality technology would enable her idea for ‘Apparitions’ 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 (focusing on her hometown since 2012 of Hastings & St Leonards) – the app is free to download
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 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.”
The first series was launched in 2018 – 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 Memorial : 1862 -1973
These photos show the Memorial location clearly – ‘the heart of Hastings’, the 65 ft tall Memorial was a central meeting place, more than just a destination on a bus ticket. A statue of Prince Albert was on the south facing aspect, the clocktower was in many Edwardian postcards, the last one I have sourced is a photo from the 1960s. These images show over time how it becomes isolated in a traffic island, traffic around this memorial was ultimately the secret to its untimely ‘arson’ attack in 1972, and total demolition in 1973. Prince Albert was saved by local Edith Skelton, and some of the gas lamps were taken to the Hastings museum & art Gallery where they are still outside. The model triggered by Apparitions app, knows where you are standing using the GPS in your smartphone. Apparitions also has a 1 minute soundscape that encompasses the 111 years of The Memorial, including the first Armistice day, flooding, German planes flying close, and finally drunken arson.
St Leonards pier, 1891-1952
Here is a link to a video captured inside the app showing a tour of the detailed model, we had to reduce it for mobile phone experiences. I used all the postcards and architectural information I could find locally to create the posts, bracings, railing details, kiosks and scale.
Based on the finest details of engineer Richard St George Moore this 960 ft long pier was larger than its rival in Hastings, we made the first model for Apparitions in 3D software ‘SketchUp’ precisely from the original pier’s dimensions.
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*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 olfactory. The 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.