America's Least Popular War: Augmented War of 1812
Augmented War of 1812 is the first chapter in a series of public history augmented reality projects, using smart phones to bring primary sources into outdoor spaces via augmented reality apps. In phase one of the project, focused on the War of 1812 in New York, augmented realities depicted a coast guard cutter chasing a smuggler in the Hudson, a sailor disembarking on Governor's Island near Castle William, a fortification built during the war, and an image of Cap. Lawrenece floating over his tomb "Dont' Give Up the Ship," in Trinity Cemetery. Live audience interactions, included participants grabbing floating bank notes (tied to the history of counterfeiting) in the chapel on Governor's Island. The augmented reality segments were tied via GPS to sites of signficance, including rioting, protests, financial disorder, ship contracts around South Street Seaport, announcements of the war's end, and building of defences such as Castle Clinton and Castle William.
A second improved version of this pilot project is planned, tied to sites relating to Women's History in Manhattan, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Bella Abzug, Harriet Tubman and Juliet Noel Toussaint -- women taken from different time periods whose histories are documented in archives but go unremarked in public space. Phase 2, called "Caught in the Act" focuses on motivation and engagement, so that the digital sources on the smart phone tied to sites are actually used and found. Using the abundance of digital resources and the ubiquity of digital devices, the project tries to make history less "scarce" in NYC's public spaces, investigating motivating social media mechanisms to propel engagement with statues, streets and buildings that do not reveal historical connections without search.
The augmented reality segments are created by locative media artist Steve Bull, and the history interpretations by public historian Kathleen Hulser.