Vuforia // Centralia

I’ve been really interested in integrating video content into this spectrum of extended reality, so I decided to use still images that would come to life in AR to play a video recording I took almost exactly 10 years ago – to imbue memories into physical photographs as a sort of time capsule. At the time, I was a sophomore an an undergraduate student at NYU, and I went with a group of my friends on a roadtrip around Pennsylvania for spring break. I had a video art assignment I had to fulfill, and while I didn’t end up finishing the project, I was left with a hard drive I uncovered recently, which had a wealth of these recordings that feel like a mix between homemade videos and snapchat stories.

There are two image targets, one is a still of a title sequence, which explain the narrative a bit:

“Centralia: An ancient municipality located in the outskirts of society in rural Pennsylvania. Population: 9 due to coal mining fire circa 1962. The remaining 991 residents (approx.) are expected to return in 2016 to open a buried time capsule.”

The other image target is a rough trailer I had made at the time, the audio didn’t come through on this screen recording (I’ll have to re-upload this), but it’s meant to be a dream-like glimpse into this time and space.

I linked the video player within Unity to each of the image targets using simple planes. Initially, the videos started playing automatically as soon as I hit play, so it was a bit tricky to figure out how to make the video start playing only when the image target was detected in order to create the illusion that the photo became animated. I still need to work on making it stop playing when the image target is no longer detected.

I definitely want to keep going with this and incorporate all this footage into a larger mixed reality project, perhaps to explore relationships with time, memories, and archival content within extended reality.