Tuesday, June 21, 2005


traces: a locative media work for mobile phones about people, memory and place.
Proposal for d_art 05

description of the work

"traces" is a locative media work delivered on mobile phone via video, audio and MP3, exploring the relationships of people, memory and place. In it, the environments we move through- the streets, buildings; the parks and bridges and alleyways of Sydney’s CBD - reveal themselves as sites rich with meaning, traced over with both personal and shared narrative.

In “traces” 5-7 people will disclose 5-7 true stories, recounting a vivid, intense personal experience that has occurred in a specific place in Sydney. A postcard showing an “alternate” map of Sydney with the 5-7 specific sites marked on it will tie the experiences to the actual locations. This will also allow audiences to choose between accessing the material immediately while in the exhibition space, stepping outside or walking/ travelling to the actual location to experience the stories. Audiences will also be able to submit their responses to the stories or their own vivid location based experiences via SMS to a specific phone number or moblog, revealing a city alive with memory and personal meaning. The moblog of public responses could also be exhibited as part of the overall work within d_Art05. The initial 5-7 narrative “traces” have been selected as experiences representing intimate, personal recollections as well as those forming parts of Sydney’s shared cultural memory. Initial selected sites include the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Luna Park, Chinatown, Kings Cross and Bondi. In the next few weeks I will also attempt to identify other stories and locations close to the Opera House.

"traces" will use Bluetooth technology to transfer the video or sound files to audiences. Potentially MP3 files of the audio information can also be transferred to iPod users as an alternate mode of experiencing the work.

Initially this project was planned as a larger work, involving around 15 sites around Sydney. However time constraints have led to me concentrate on 5-7 sites for the d_Art exhibition. This is due to the time required to adequately research possible locations and narratives. The following 5-7 locations/ experiences are achievable and deliverable in terms of the time frame. (However, it is entirely possible that I can produce more than this number in time for the launch.)

intended audience

The primary audience for this project is a youth audience, who are extremely comfortable with mobile technologies. This work encourages them to connect with Sydney’s urban landscape, with the multiple histories latent within Sydney’s environment, and with technology, in unexpected ways.

"traces" 5-7 site specific locations/ narratives :-

Notes on videos: All videos to be 60 secs max length, 3gp format. ( I have already existing footage output to 3gp and it looks great!)
Videos will have very large text intro identifying the locatio and the first name of the person recounting the experience eg Kings Cross, Andy.
Shot on DV, composited in After Effects, slightly dreamlike, as if evoking a memory.

Site 1 : Opera House
Audio:-recollection of one of the 2 guys ( Dave Burgess or Will Saunders) who climbed the Opera House, and painted the "No War" sign in red paint in 2003 . His thoughts as he was climbing, painting – how did he feel, what was he thinking?
Video:- Shots of pristine Opera House. Close ups. Shots of red paint. Shots of No War sign.
ALTERNATIVELY if I can’t interview Dave or Will, then interview an eyewitness.

Site 2: Harbour Bridge
Audio:- A gay man recounts a sexual encounter he had with his partner up on the Harbour Bridge when they climbed it at night, many years earlier.
Video:- Shots of Harbour Bridge, wide and in close up. Shots of 2 young men walking (but not explicit).

Site 3: Chinatown
Audio:- Recollection of young Asian girl or guy lanning- playing an intense all night networked game, in one of Chinatown’s computer game parlours.
Video:- Shots of Chinatown at night, lanner, friends, manic playing of games.

Site 4: Luna Park
Audio: A young girl recounts a vivid childhood experience occurring at Luna Park.
Video: Luna Park, big face, Coney Island, rides

Site 5: Brougham St, Kings Cross
Audio: A man recounts scenes from a huge and very wild party in a house in Brougham St, Kings Cross.
Video: Cross @ night, houses, cu’s people jostling against each other, party type scenes.

Site 6: Fletcher St, Bondi
Audio:- Experience / recollection of a woman whose mother had been shot and almost killed by a stalker at a house in Fletcher St in the 1940’s, when the mother had been only 21.
Video:- Shots of the street, houses, close ups young woman and young man in 1940’s clothes as she answers door to stalker ( again, implied rather than explicit violence).

Site 7: tba but possibly one of the following ( or anything else that comes up in the next few weeks that is better!! Suggested sites and experiences welcome- but they need to be actual not fictional experiences):-

Pitt St: A skateboarder recollecting travelling through CBD
Maya Jupiter/ MC Trey :- a vivid recollection tied to a Sydney location
Rocks: an intense experience occurring in the Rocks.
Arq or other club- A clubber or DJ recounts an intense experience happening one night in one of Sydney’s dance clubs.
Breakdance/ Freestyle / Hip hop – city – recollection of Vietnamese teenager dancing with crew on street
Hilton Hotel– George St– recollection of one of the policemen injured in the Hilton Bombing in the late 70’s.
Side On Café – Annandale – recollection of a young woman as her father drunkenly plays piano onstage.

possible images

The images below are roiughest mockups only.

postcard roughest mockup

Originally uploaded by meganh.
Postcard will combine hand illustration of CBD map and photographic bg of Sydney. This is a super rough composite ( illustrator out of Sydney at the moment).

No war sample image

No war sample image
Originally uploaded by meganh.
Anti-war message is sprayed onto the sails of the famous Sydney Opera House as Australia formally commits to joining any U.S. attack on Iraq, March 18, 2003.

mock Bondi

mock Bondi
Originally uploaded by meganh.
Mock up of video still from Bondi sequence.

technical issues

To deliver "traces" at the Opera House in August 05 involves the following technical requirements:-
•Production of video and sound segments
•Production of postcards
•Transfer of designated video (3gp) and audio(MP3) files to mobile phones via Bluetooth on site at Opera House Studio.
•Wireless USB Bluetooth adaptor ( eg D-Link Personal Air DBT 120- http://www.d-link.com/products/?sec=0&pid=34)
•Dedicated SIM card / phone number for SMS feedback from audience
•Blog/ moblog creation and updating.
•Possibly a laptop to exhibit feedback blog ( or use on of the others in exhibit?).
•Audiences will provide their own phones. They will need to be video or audio enabled (ie can play back 3gp or MP3 files).

about Megan

Megan Heyward is a new media artist /practitioner whose work operates at the intersection of narrative and interactivity. She has been funded twice by the Australian Film Commission to develop innovative interactive media projects which reconfigure storytelling into new media forms. These projects :- "I Am A Singer" (1997) and "of day, of,night" (2002) have been widely exhibited both in Australia and internationally, including the MILIA New Talent Pavilion ( France), ISEA ( Japan), Festival of Cinema and New Media (Canada), Contact Zones ( USA), Videobrasil ( Brazil), Viper (Switzerland), Stuttgarter Filmwinter ( Germany), Digital Storytelling Festival ( USA). Both works have also been finalists or winners of new media awards, including MILIA New Talent, AIMIA Awards and the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. "of day, of night" will be published by major U.S new media and hypertext publisher, Eastgate Systems, in 2005.

Experiences of memory and recollection are a recurrent theme in Megan’s work. Her works have explored the relationship of memory and identity (“I am a Singer”); memory, objects and dreaming (“of day, of night”); and memory and place (“message”- Pathiharn Electron, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2004). She is currently working on a set of intersecting short stories concerning the body and remembrance. In 2004 she became interested in locative media, undertaking the ANAT Blast Theory Masterclass in Jan 2004, and the d_Art Futurescreen Mobile Aware Masterclass in Jan 2005 to further develop ideas and approaches.

Megan is a Senior Lecturer in Media Arts and Production, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, UTS.

© Megan Heyward, June 2005 megan.heyward@uts.edu.au
0416 369902 (mob) 9514 2329 (wk) 8765 0750 (home)