I began to experiment (with the help of an Horizon intern, James Colley) in 2010 with the more advanced capabilities of newly released Android devices to develop Anywhere 2, a platform to allow easy creation of a collection of multimedia and assignment of the media to geographical locations; Anywhere 2 also offers a mobile application that allows users to find and view this media while outdoors, walking through the assigned locations. The ultimate aim of creating the platform was to explore the possibility of replacing the human guides pivotal to the success of Anywhere Somewhere Everywhere with automated context-triggered delivery of mobile media.
The testing and further development of the Anywhere 2 platform was aided through a Creative Innovation grant, the business support strand of the Cultural Olympiad in the East Midlands, which funded a period of collaboration with Theresa Caruana. During this period, EPSRC funding in the form of a Toward Pervasive Media feasibility study, Urban Mediator, was accessed to allow the development and trial of a number of mobile city exploration experiences using the Anywhere 2 platform, culminating in a showcase event at the Broadway media centre in Nottingham in February 2011. At this event two “artist’s walks” – ‘ART – Attention Restoration Therapy’ (by Chloe Scott and Simon Brambles) and ‘Neglected Domains’ (by Richard Woods) – prototyped using Anywhere 2 were presented:
ART takes the viewer on a ‘retreat’ experience, escaping the noise and distraction of everyday urban life to contemplate the restorative qualities of some often overlooked aspects of the city: such as a disused tunnel that offers a unique view of the sky; a hedgerow teeming with insect life; and a church interior transformed by a lighting installation depicting the changing patterns of light on the surface of water.
Neglected Domains considers some of the incidental ‘leftover’ spaces in the Lace Market area of the city, drawing the viewer’s attention to the historical richness and narrative potential of some often overlooked architectural details. Bricked-up doorways, ‘secret’ courtyards, and broken boot-scrapers, all serve to highlight the constantly changing patterns of building occupation – hinting at the human stories sedimented in the superimposed layers of the city fabric.