Click here for online simulation of augmented mediascape

This project commenced by interviewing parents and visitors at the adventure playground over a one week period and recording two to five minute episodes about their own childhood experiences and memories of the adventure playground. Intimate personal stories and strange and unusual memories about incidental experiences. In order to create this dynamic audio and video narrative the work was partly constructed/dramatised and partly real life stories/interviews.

This layering of augmented memories over the actually experience of visiting the adventure playground today was further assisted by providing visitors with a map that guided them through the locations and stories attached to them. Whilst further conceptual information was provided in this guide, other discreet and unusual sounds and visuals were included that the user stumbled across, providing an abstract story or chain of events that brought the piece together within an interactive experience of a collective memory of the playground. The audio sequences were recorded using binaural microphones which spatially placed the sounds as they were when recorded. Additional visual references to this augmented narrative were provided as video clips projected in the interior of the tunnel of the children's train ride. A combination of slow motion and strobe flashing image sequences took the visitor further into this augmented memoryscape, a momentary return to the history and collective memory of the environment.

Augmented reality involves the overlaying of digital information onto real space. By moving through the real environment users experience the digital information at the location to which it refers. Headphones are connected to a small HP computer, called an iPAQ (PDA), that plays the appropriate sound file depending on where they are in the playground. Their location is determined by a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver unit attached to the iPAQ. GPS is a worldwide radio navigation system that uses satellites to calculate your position. A GPS receiver needs visibility of at least three satellites orbiting the earth to get a good position reading. Sound and video sequences are defined how to play according to a software authoring tool. The authoring tool uses a map of the area as a background onto which regions are drawn. Specific commands are associated with each region and define what the user should experience when they enter or re-enter the space, and a client program running on the iPAQ works out which sound file should be played depending on where you are in the region.

An augmented mediascape by Paul Sermon.

Commissioned by the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs for The 4th City on the Move Art Festival, November 2006, Taipei, Taiwan:

From Encounter to Encounter - Expounding the Playground

Software development by HP Labs Bristol. Supported by The University of Salford UK with financial assistance from Arts Council England and the British Council Taipei.

Paul Sermon's project at the Children's Recreation Centre is to invite visitors to enter the amusement park and, guided by PDA's and maps, to randomly search out stories taking place amidst the physical terrain for example, unusual past experiences of different people at the amusement park when they were children: "a strawberry ice cream dripping on an orange skirt, a lost shoe, falling over and grazing a knee or how the space appeared then..." Stories and incidental experiences allow adults to reinterpret this place, which is the "territory of children", while memories in synch with the archetypal concept of the venue induce the expansion of the subconscious, constructing an aesthetic of imagined memories in relation to the venue. Thus, the augmentation of individual memories is transformed into collective memory.

In addition to the augmented mediascape, Paul Sermon presented a series of video projected images in the tunnel of the miniature train ride. These video sequences referred to a momentary transition between the past and present experience of the amusement park and thus further assisted in augmenting the participants journey around the environment.

With special thanks to:

Constance Fleuriot, Eric Chang, Yi-Haw Liu, Tung-Yun Wu, Ting-Kuei Chien.

Supported by: