[VISUAL ARTS: Interview] Peepshow: 2010
Produced by the team at Chippendale’s Queen Street Studios, PeepShow AR is a free smartphone application offering guided tours of the Darlinghurst and Surry Hills districts. Combining the insider knowledge of the creative-types who live, work and play within the 2010 postcode, with the latest ‘Augmented Reality’ technology, PeepShow AR takes you on a tour of 280 hidden gems and the faces and stories behind them – everything from quirky bars to creative collectives. Below, Queen Street co-founder and director James Winter walks us through the application, ahead of its launch.
What is ‘Augmented Reality’? Augmented Reality uses GPS to determine the location of a ‘point of interest’. This location is displayed as an image, graphic or text layer over the top of the camera view on your smartphone. This allows you to view a virtual reality in real time.
How did Peepshow AR come about? In 2008 we did community profiling in Chippendale and created a map resource of all the cultural and creative industries in the area. PeepShow AR is an extension of that, but instead of making a physical map we’re making a virtual map using AR technology.
What kind of information does the app provide? It reveals the secrets of the 2010 postcode based upon extensive surveying we did of the creatives who live, work and play in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. It’s about mapping the places they hold as significant to the identity of the area – anything from historic sites and small bars to creative collectives and cultural institutions. It’s quite eclectic. There are 12 different tour categories and 280 sites people can engage in. It’s very much an app you’d turn to on a Sunday – take a tour of places you never knew existed and just walk around and enjoy the city.
Who did you survey? Firstly, we surveyed Queen Street Studio members – performance and visual artists – who live in the area. Then the City of Sydney surveyed theatre companies, publishers, people in media, architects, designers, people in IT and web, actors, dancers, singers, music producers – the whole gamut of people and ages covering everything from colonial history to pop culture in the ’80s to now, giving a really interesting insight into the ever-evolving personalities of the area.
Any personal tour highlights? There’s a lot of razor history and stories about colonial Sydney, particularly surrounding Darlinghurst gaol [currently the National Art School] and the types of people that were hanged at the gallows and served time there. There’s a particularly beautiful story about a gay bushranger, Captain Moonlight, who requested his body be buried with his lover. That was denied, but in the ’90s some activists were able to exhume his remains and bury him with his boyfriend in regional Australia.
BRAG is happy to see our neighbour, the old cattle dog who hangs out on Crown Street, rates a mention…
Absolutely! We got pictures of the chalk outlines on the footpath and recorded the dates and times the dog was there. There’s now evidence of that dog acting as an installation on Crown Street!
What’s happening for the launch weekend? For those who want to get involved, many of the 280 locations are throwing open their doors for activities and little parties and treasure hunts, etc. Through these you’ll uncover the secret location of the Sunday party, where we’ll have kooky performances and food. People are invited to share their PeepShow AR tour experiences and broadcast their tweets and photos and contribute to the second upgrade of the program!
What: PeepShow AR + launch weekend
When/Where: tours depart Sat Oct 15 – Sun Oct 16 from 11am–5pm (on the hour) from Cnr Burton & Palmer Streets, Darlinghurst
Download the launch guide & hotspot map from Mon Oct 10 queenstreetstudio.com