This project takes John Goto’s photo series ‘West End Blues: Jazz Migrants in London 1919-1974’, and creates an interactive multimedia exhibition across the streets of London.
Augmented Reality allows the blending of computer graphics with live video in such a way that they appear to be entities in the real-world environment. In this case the stylised silhouettes of famous jazz musicians appear at sites that have a meaningful connection to their history. The project uses the Layar application for mobile devices, and combines the Augmented Reality experience with guided directions between sites, background information, and samples of the musician’s works.
The series revisits great jazz events in London’s West End. The figures appear like spectres in the contemporary streets of Soho, conflating past and present in strange and evocative ways. Viewers can hear sound samples in front of the very venues that Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Art Pepper and many more once played, and read background notes about the occasion.
Dr Leach comments "Connecting information with location is very powerful. You can be standing in an unfamiliar place and learn things about your surroundings that even the locals wouldn't know."
The project can now be experienced live in the streets of Soho using either Apple or Android mobile devices. Simply downloaded Layar, which is a free application, and put in the search term 'West End Blues'.