On 16 April, I will be tuning in via Skype to participate as a presenter in the Where to? Steps Towards the Future of Walking Arts Symposium hosted by Falmouth University in the UK.

My talk Where to: Finding Ghosts to Look both Ways will focus on the augmented reality walking projects and recent collaborative work with developer Aruna Sankaranarayanan to create an open source platform for AR walks.

Aura #1 Aspinwall House, © Tracey Benson 2014
Aura #1 Aspinwall House, © Tracey Benson 2014

At the “Where to?” symposium I will present some documentation of my walking projects that have incorporated Augmented Reality technology to explore the city/site in different ways. So far a number of projects have been undertaken in collaboration with local historians, researchers and software developers. These walks have happened in a range of places – Dunedin, Auckland, Copenhagen, Kochi. The overarching title for these walking works is “Finding Ghosts” as I often use historical images of sites to reveal layers of the past.

Aurasma has been the AR tool used so far to reveal historical imagery into the contemporary landscape. The AR elements have also been available on printable maps and blogs about the projects. For more info see: https://traceybenson.com/category/art-projects/augmented-reality/

To expand on this focus, I am now working on a number of projects:

  • Collaboration with an retired park ranger to develop a project that maps changes in the landscape in some of the bushland around inner Canberra,
  • “Look Both Ways” is another historic walk where I am collaborating with a developer in Bangalore to create a history walk there.
  • In addition to these projects, I am also hoping to secure funding to work with an Indigenous community in Victoria, Australia, to create interactive walking tours for education and eco-tourism purposes.

As an artist, I seek to create engaging and innovative works that explore ideas of place and traversing the landscape, whether urban, rural or remote. In the forthcoming project Look Both Ways, the intention is also to customise open source AR tools to enable a broader engagement across platforms and hardware.

The Look both Ways project explores augmented reality technologies as a means to develop interactive guided walks. Look both ways is a collaboration between artist Tracey Benson and developer Aruna Sankaranarayanan, and the intention is to jointly create an AR application that is open and accessible to a broad range of users.

Symposium overview: Where to? Steps Towards the Future of Walking Arts Symposium
An international symposium of manifestos, interventions and future visions of the diverse aesthetic forms, sensibilities, regional particularities and politics of walking art practices.

In partnership with the AHRC Walking Artist Network, the Articulating Space Research Centre at Falmouth University is hosting a symposium to consider the future of walking arts through a programme of interventions, propositions and/or manifestos that address three key strands of inquiry:

  • The diversity of forms and growth of interest in walking art practices
  • The regional particularities in walking (art)
  • The politics of walking (art).

In partnership with Cornwall Film Festival, the event will feature a screening of the walking related film Of This Parish created by Liminal. In the evening, we will go the route with Bram Thomas Arnold’s exhibition Walking Home at the Fish Factory in Falmouth.

The programme aims to address the following questions pertinent to each of the three key areas of inquiry that will shape the symposium discussion:

1. The growth/ interest in walking art practices: Its visibility, breadth and range

  • What are the sensibilities and dynamics in art theory that are promoting walking’s popularity?
  • How do these relate to wider cultural sensibilities and structures of feeling?
  • How are ideas of placed encounters with walking globally circulated and reproduced?
  • How are mobile and located technologies promoting new platforms and audiences for walking art practices?

2. Regional particularities in walking (art)

  • How does the act of walking take possession of landscape and/or articulate the identity of the walker with the place (and vice versa)?
  • How can we challenge ourselves as walkers in a passive landscape/backdrop: How do the animate and inanimate act upon one another?
  • How does the act of walking connect places?
  • How is regional identity communicated or marketed (nationally and internationally) through the appeal of walking?

3. The politics of walking (art)

  • Who is marginalized or left behind?
  • Who is walking? Who isn’t walking?
  • Are the resistances of walking over-stated?
  • How does walking mobilise political action?

Once I have finalised my presentation I will publish it on slideshare and share the link via my blog.

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