Stories Through Space

Ilana Pecis Bonder

How can we tell narratives through mobile AR that will help users engage with the physical space around them? Stories Through Space is an exploration of Augmented Reality and Geolocation as a tool for interactive digital storytelling.

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Augmented Reality and Geolocation can be used as an engaging storytelling medium. With high-speed connectivity, data collection, and machine learning, we are moving towards a world where the abstraction of reality we used to see in a map can finally be juxtaposed into the real world by the lenses of our gadgets. And, with that, comes the possibility of immersing the user in the hidden narratives about those locations.

By blending the virtual and physical worlds and giving the user control of the point of view, new opportunities of narrative interaction emerge. Simultaneously, new challenges related to technical performance and user experience are presented to us. Through the perspective of AR development, UX design and extensive User Testing, the goal of this Thesis is to analyze the process of developing Augmented Reality applications in order to suggest frameworks and best practices for creating storytelling experiences in space.

This research is a result of my contribution and development of the apps ‘1968 Washington Square Park’ and ‘Al Mahjar: the story of the Poets of Little Syria’. Even though the projects differ in content and location, both use AR to play with the relations between time and space: visitors are immersed in the same spot they are physically standing in, the way it was in the past, and are invited to interact with the historical content around them.

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