University of the West of England

Dr. Charlotte Crofts teaches on the BA (Hons) Film, Faculty of the Arts, Creative Industries and Education at University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.  She is a member of the Digital Cultures Research Centre and a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio. She was recently awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council REACT grant to develop the ‘City Strata’ cultural app development platform which she prototyped via the Cinemapping app. She is interested in collaborating on global cinema mapping, issues of scale: crowd-sourcing and caching data from GIS databases in the cloud in mobile applications and locative experience design.

Location, Location, Location: Situating Cinema Memories in the Curzon Memories App and the Lost Cinemas of Castle Park

This paper explores two research creation projects: Curzon Memories app and Lost Cinemas of Castle Park app, which use the affordances of location-sensitive mobile technologies to bring cinema heritage to life on location. The paper reflects on the theory and practice of mediating history through mobile technologies, the aura of place, the dynamics of spatial co-presence, yet temporal disjuncture and the dialectic between mediatised memories and their material environment.

Curzon Memories App uses QR Codes and GPS to trigger context-specific media throughout the interior and exterior of the Curzon Community Cinema in Clevedon, which celebrated its centenary in 2012. The project involved extensive memory gathering in collaboration with Curzon education officer, Cathy Poole, from Muriel Williams who remembers an air-raid attack in 1941 to generations of couples snogging in the back row.

Lost Cinemas of Castle Park celebrates over 100 years of Bristol’s rich cinema-going heritage in the places where it actually happened, covering thirteen cinemas from the first moving pictures screened in 1896 to the present day. The app offers a locative audio tour of the park and its immediate area where, the user’s location triggers context-specific stories of explosions, sex and even murder.

In both projects, the evocative power of audio became one of the primary tools through which cultural memories were mediated. This is in part due to the desire to create ‘Magic Moments’: that frisson (or dialectic) between the physical location in the present, and the past you are trying to recreate that is so important in locative media design.