The Lights of St. Etienne: An AR/MR Experience in the Cathedral in Metz, France

Maria Engberg (Research Affiliate), Jay David Bolter

The Augmented Reality experience, The Lights of St. Etienne, uses the AR-browser Argon as a platform for an embodied, location-based experience in St Etiènne Cathédral in Metz. The experience takes into account the cultural heritage and “hidden” stories embedded in its architecture, windows, and ornamentations. Lights focus on five separate sites (geo-spots) in and around the cathedral to explore various dimensions of the cathedral, its history, and its place in Metz.

The five spots are inside the cathedral, working with historical narratives relating the history of the cathedral and citizens' experience of Metz at various points in time. 3D panoramas will be used to give the visitor a sense of the changing architecture of the vast church over the centuries. Photographic images, presented on the screen, will permit the visitor to examine more closely some of the stained glass located high overhead. Sound and music are prominent in the experience, changing as the visitor moves to the various sites. Ranging from the sounds of fire (cf. Bill Viola's Fire Woman video work 2005 serves as an example) to spoken narratives in 1st person point-of-view narratives of people telling personal stories relating to a particular moment. Favoring a situated personalized narrative, inspired by historical events and drawn from contemporaneous sources, the narratives present one view on the complexity of history that is centered on the cathedral. Music is also used in the application, underscoring contemplation or the sacral experience of being in the cathedral.

Argon permits us to design using a variety of Augmented and Mixed reality techniques, as well as multimedia presented on the mobile device's screen. This prototype was designed and produced by AEL researchers, students at the Metz campus of Georgia Tech (GT Lorraine), and students at Georgia Tech in Atlanta (US).

Jay Bolter, Blair MacIntyre
Jisu Park, So-youn Jang, Hector Fan, Watson Hartsoe, Mudra Nagda, Namit Kapoor

Lab activities focus on understanding how to build interactive computing environments that directly augment a user's senses with computer-generated material. Researchers are interested in augmenting the user's perception, and place particular emphasis on the interaction between the users and their environment.