Augmented Reality Application and site-specific video essay, HD, 2017-2023
In cooperation with Farhan Khalid, produced with the support of Goethe-Institut Cairo
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The Augmented Archive is a mobile site-specific video archive for public space, a digital art project, and an iOS and Android app. It is a growing, expanding archive, a topography of the possible, a map of fragments from a city’s manifold presents. The project takes the form of a spatial narrative, functioning like a speculative archaeological tool, leading you through real and virtual ruins of past, present and future of the city and its imaginary expansions. Its framework is a media architecture, a GPS-based archive that can be read and rewritten, open for your thoughts and interaction. A guide that speaks of the various contestations of the city and your personal encounters with and within them. You will have to use a device to enter this virtual palimpsest, a smart- phone, or a tablet and your imagination. Think of Walter Benjamin’s Arcade Project in the digital age of transmission and real-time; a fragmentary poem guiding you through actual and potential disasters and desires; spaces and times of here and now. While walking with this device you will experience video documents—recorded at the same place at other times; performances—absent yet present; associative story-telling—dreamlike yet hyper-real; suggestive instructions—asking for your own contribution and continuation of a story that is as conflicted, disjointed and elusive, as yourself and the city around you.

The Augmented Archive explores the changing medialities of the archival in its transition from a mode of recording and storing to a means of transmission. It is built as an iOS/Android app, employing GPS data, Augmented Reality and video streaming technology. It makes the various layers of a story, a city available site-specifically, i.e. at the location of their initial recording via GPS and mobile devices. Users of the app can thus explore the urban space through various layers, juxtaposing different layers of time onto a specific site as they are passing through it. Its media framework is conceived as an expanding, interactive platform enabling its users to contribute to this archive, by recording and uploading videos and other contributions to the narrative architecture themselves, giving form to the idea of a collection of speculative thought. We are used to navigate through our present via GPS and mobile devices, always aware of our real-time coordinates in actual and virtual worlds. Yet how can we employ these technologies critically? How can we navigate our multi-layered past bringing it into our immediate present? In the age of constant connectivity traditional forms of historiography fail to reflect our shifting sense of time and space, of a present that is enmeshed in the vast, instantly available repositories of our past-future. The Augmented Archive is an attempt to give form to this complex condition and generate possible archaeologies of our present.