‘Apparitions’ – a new artwork by Luciana Haill 2018 – 2019
I am fascinated by the relationship of history, new technologies, memory & dreams. In 2018 I produced a series of 3 artworks funded by a ‘Grantium’ from The Arts Council of England in a significant exploration of the impact of cutting edge ‘augmented reality’ technologies on memory & experience called ‘Apparitions’. They are self-selecting, inspirational & immersive art experiences with historical presence anchored in each of the 3 surreal soundtracks, travelling through time creating a nostalgia for a future we cannot experience.
“The effect of AR brings to mind a form of modern-day conjuring or seancing of ghosts or phantasms. Alternatively a form of assisted imaginative time travel that enables you to peer through a portal and down the corridors of history.”
Focussing on my hometown of Hastings & St Leonards I designed an ‘augmented reality’ (AR) application that triggers the public structures such as St Leonards Pier (destroyed in WWII) & the Albert Memorial (lost to fire in 1973) as virtual 3D models viewable using smartphones and special vintage postcard markers. In each postcard trigger the hyperrealism of simulation is translated by the hallucinatory resemblance of the real to itself. All these places no longer exist.
In this sense Apparitions explores some similar and overlapping territory with Mark Fisher’s hauntological theories in its creation of spectral imagery and sound in relation to lost landmarks and futures. Accompanying which the use of the words ghosts and apparitions in the project is not dissimilar to the use of ghosts or spectres within some hauntological related work in the way that it infers a sense of the spectral after-images or echoes of items from previous eras. Influenced by local Victorian & Edwardian heritage the work raises ‘ghost’ buildings up from what artist Brion Gysin called the ‘derelict dead’.
These ‘AR’* artworks are informed by ‘Simulacra and Simulation’ by Jean Baurillard when he describes ‘masking the absence of a profound reality‘ in the introductory chapter ‘The Precession of Simulacra’. And further more their hyperreal presences can also be described as ‘a scaled-down refraction (hyper-realists fix a real from which all meaning & charm, all depth & energy of representation have vanished in a hallucinatory resemblance)‘.
Due to processor power limitations in all 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 achieve an ideal polygon count. This effects my imagined version, and now I see it will be possible to attain the ideal hyperreal reconstruction of a demolished place, and to quote Baudrillard again ‘it has no relation to any reality whatsoever: it is its own pure simulacrum‘
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, buyoant 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 sadly did not survive the elements, wars or council changes in traffic control ! Apparitions has three 3D models of lost sites specifically St Leonards Pier , The Clocktower Memorial and an Edwardian Beach hut in Bexhill. Once more these can be triggered anywhere you like, on smart phones by downloading a free app when viewing specially encoded vintage postcards. Combining augmented reality with a time-travelling immersive audio experience.
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 sound track, it provoked their recall of the band playing the pier that night as they walked home and saw The Memorial ablaze.
acing gentrification, simultaneously conveyed by its current & precedent ambitious Victorian settlers.
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 binaural soundscapes for a site will create a sonic signatures conveying news, music and environmental ambience during the lifetime of the site. The artworks are preserving and enriching historical and cultural antiquities onto smart phones.
A visual analogy is a stylish, retrograde St Leonards experienced in the style of Google Earth, but unconventionally set during Victorian & Edwardian times, raising ‘ghost’ buildings up from what artist Brion Gysin called the ‘derelict dead’. Each site can in a future build link to a website further communicating local peoples’ recollections & memories, add embedded value to tourists’ & schools trips, apparitions from lost sites & souls, normally only available by researching history books & exploring museums.
I found this interesting page www.hastingschronicle.net/features/tressell-life-times/
of local photos from places in ‘Mugsville’ which is described in the book I am currently reading by Robert Tressell ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanphropists‘ and another good source is ‘Hastings a pier without peer‘
Platform development in progress 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 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.