Monday 9 September 2013

App Testing and Interviews

Under the sweltering July sun, the Cinematic Geographies project team had a full day in Battersea Park testing the prototype of BatterCtrax, an immersive, geolocative iPhone app designed to deliver audio from feature films that were shot in and around the park. Working with app developer Amblr, the project team have identified dozens of film locations in the area and refined a technology that allows the audio from those films to be delivered to the iPhone user as they pass through the park triggering GPS-enabled geofences. For example, the experience of hearing sounds from the Festival of Britain Pleasure Gardens (1951) or Battersea Fun Fair (closed - 1974) while standing in those locations is pretty eerie, or looking out over the Thames and hearing the sounds of the industrious river as it was 50 years ago is startling. BatterCtrax is still in research and development phase but we are working hard to make a publicly available version as soon as possible. Watch this space.

We also spent a good deal of the day interviewing and filming a group of ex-Battersea residents who gather once a year to catch up with friends and say hello to SW11. Many thanks to all those who kindly gave up their time to share memories and observations of Battersea as it developed over the course of the 20th Century. It was invaluable for us to hear directly about the social and cultural changes that have shaped the area, but also to have certain historical preconceptions of the area (largely presented to us through cinema) changed in a positive way.

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