My mother once told me a story of a castle. I think it was in America. She said that the castle was built by some high-ranking army man for his young, beautiful wife. Isn’t that the story of almost every castle? Anyway, my mother said that the castle was built there because of warm mineral springs that flow all year round, and are supposed to restore and rejuvenate those who swim in them. She said that the springs were discovered by George Washington and his friends, and that they named the place after some town in England that was rather in vogue at the time. I used to remember all of the details, but the years have taken that from me too. She said that the castle was haunted. Not haunted with ghosts like most other stories you’ve heard, but haunted with memories. The story goes that the castle was built of some sort of stone that had magical powers. It remembered. Some people that have been to the castle say that they’ve heard voices, doors slamming, footsteps, and sometimes all the furniture in a room will be mysteriously re-arranged. And all of it happens when no one else is there. Strange. It’s magic I guess. They say it’s in the water.” – Eva Garrard
Objects have memories. They absorb moments. Sights and sounds are experienced, and immediately cached. These objects become imbued with the essence of each moment. A collection of objects can contain a lifetime of memories. When combined, these memories can trace a lucid story an individual, revealing private moments, intimate soliloquies, and personal encounters. “Telling” is one such story.
Our planned project will tell the story of Eva Garrard. Born in 1930, Mrs. Garrard story traverses generations to retrace a life that with a passing glance is like that of any other woman of her generation. Careful observation with the aid of augmented reality technology reveals a story that not only stands in contrast to that of her contemporaries, but brings to light the truth about a woman interned by her time.
We will not only tell the story of Eva Garrard, but also touch on the castle, the springs, and the stone material whose magical properties made this real-world place such a strong memory for Eva that she projected this belief onto her surroundings. Wanting her own life to be more than what she was living, Eva believed in the story of the castle so deeply that she unknowingly infused the inanimate world around her with this magic. Everything she touched became a vessel of memory.
Our goal is to create a project that will bend and blur reality to allow the user the choice of viewing it as a story of AR noir, or to accept the role of forensic observer. The forensic observer can examine objects, the content they reveal, and the ways in which combinations of objects (collisions) can reveal deeper truths, additional perspectives, and eventual shocking revelations about Mr. Garrard. We hope to be able to create a work that is satisfying for both the casual, passing viewer and the curious, investigative user alike.
Eva’s story; part fact, part fiction, and part science-fiction, will be told through a series video vignettes incorporating actors, voice actors, poetry, custom composed music, and original sound design. Real objects belonging to Mrs. Garrard and photographs from her personal collection, interspersed with our own found objects and personal photos, will be used as markers for the augmented reality engine. Our project is scaleable to allow for a quick completion within the duration of this course, and an eventual realization of a much richer narrative. A self-imposed restriction for this project is that content will be either found or created in the real world.