Time Machine: The Chicago Renaissance (2012)

project-in-development

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Explore the history, lore and legends of Bronzeville during the defining events of the 20th century: The Great Migration, The Great Depression, Jim Crow Segregation, World War II, and the Black Metropolis.

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Discover the genius, ingenuity, and invention in all the arts, from painters’ studios and recital halls, to juke joints and storefront churches that distinguishes the vibrant and creative period of The Chicago Renaissance (c.1935 – 1955).

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Time Machine Components:

Augmented Reality  Installation

Immersive Web Destination

Educational Games

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Augmented Reality Gallery Installation:

The center piece of Time Machine: The Chicago Renaissance is the augmented reality gallery installation for  museum audiences. This display consists of a three-dimensional tabletop model (8′ x 10′) of the contemporary South Side/Bronzeville area, accurate and detailed enough for visitors to recognize locations and landmarks. But the model is blank and motionless, primarily devoid of color and surface texture.

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An augmented reality-enabled tablet or phone, focused on this cityscape, becomes a time machine, enabling visitors  to view 3D animated recreations of particular

locations at several different times during The Chicago Renaissance period, overlayed on the contemporary cityscape. The interface on the tablet touch screen will access the archive of historical photos, print documents, and media clips that illuminate the events, persons, and significance of the arts, cultural, social and commercial engine that was Bronzeville in this period. A soundscape and narration component will also be available through the tablet’s  headset.

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Touch/click on screen icons, locations &/or objects (hotspots) to create floating overlays of archival photos, film clips, newspapers and magazines, and to trigger  radio broadcasts,  phonograph recordings and ambient soudscapes, and to access links to resources.

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Featured artists, locations, and events include:  artists’ profiles and portfolios for Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Arna Bontemps, Margaret Walker,  Gwendolyn Brooks, Inez Cunningham Stark, William Edouard Scott, Charles White, Archibald John Motley, Jr., Eldzier Cortor, William MacBride, Elizabeth Catlett, Gordon Parks, Horace Cayton, John Johnson, the Jones Brothers (Policy Kings), The South Side Community Art Center, Parkway Community House, South Side Writers’ Group,  the American Negro Exposition, Louis Armstrong and Chicago Jazz, Thomas Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music”, blues artists, Contralto Mahalia Jackson, Katherine Dunham and Ballets Negres, the Beaux Arts Ball, The Skyloft Players, The Bud Biliken Parade, Artists’ and Models’ Ball, Savoy Ballroom, Regal Theater, Rhumboogie, Club Delisa, among many others.

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Time Machine enables the visitor to explore 3D simulations of the vanished Bronzeville community. With a click/touch, selected locations can be transformed through decades of change, allowing the visitor to witness the evolution of the neighborhood, and to superimpose the historical views over the contemporary cityscape. 3D animated scenes and tableaux depict historical events, persons and places significant in understanding the historical period and art movement.

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Interactive guides and pointers, along with maps and audio narration aid the visitor in navigating  the neighborhood. They also help the visitor to see the variety of ways in which a location can be “seen”; by layering  content; juxtaposing times; and/or shifting perspective. Time Machine: The Chicago Renaissance engages the imagination of the visitor, and encourages intuitive inquiry and discovery, within  the museum and beyond .

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Educational Games:

Time Machine incorporates educational games, for tablet, phone, and desktop. These games will be age appropriate for individuals and small groups, and include “history mysteries”, treasure hunts, and guided tours utilizing AR targets placed throughout the museum at Renaissance-related displays. When the visitor points his/her mobile device at a target, they see 3D animations, simulations, maps, and other materials, floating in space superimposed on the real-world location. The museum’s galleries, corridors, thresholds and stairwells, become dynamic learning spaces, engaging and informing visitors in new ways.

 

 

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The game components function to connect  and engage the visitor with the AR program, the diorama display and the museum’s collection in interactive experiences that facilitate exploration and inquiry, and excite imagination. The games also merge into the companion web site, to promote post-visit engagement, and are accessible by virtual visitors worldwide, extending the museum’s outreach. In addition, games will be developed that extend the exploration and investigation into the community.

“Design challenges”, to design and build apps and assets for Time Machine,  will offer students/interns opportunities to find real-world application for new skills.

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Time Machine web_1cImmersive Web Destination:

Web Site Components:
3D diorama
Time Machine enables visitors to freely explore a 3D simulation of the vanished Bronzeville cityscape, from various points-of-view.

Interactive 2D and 3D Maps of Key Locations
Interactive guides and pointers, and audio narration aid the visitor in navigating the neighborhood. They also help the visitor to see the variety of ways in which a location can be “seen” – by layering content, juxtaposing times, and/or shifting perspective.

Time Line
Scrolling horizontally, the Time Line presents a graphical and multimedia chronology Bronzeville, 1930 – 1955. Images and texts, media clips and animations pop up as the cursor rolls over key points on the graph. Key dates, locations, etc. link to other components of the site. The Time Line also presents contextual information about national and international events, as documented in the African American press and other media.

Teachers’ Guides and Aids

The web site provides supplemental materials and guides to aid teachers, parents and museum educators in making full use of the technology components and capabilities of this multi-modal presentation. School classes can access the web site prior to visiting the museum, and find materials that will better prepare them for the museum visit, and provide reference and support to sustain their interest post-visit. The augmented reality interface (gallery installation) and the web site also function as pointers to the museum’s collection of Chicago Renaissance materials, with AR-guided tours, search and discover games, and other activities  designed to engage visitors in the enhanced museum experience.

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Time Machine: The Chicago Renaissance

  • is designed to tour, and be configurable for presentation by modest venues, such as schools and cultural centers, as well as prominent institutions;
  • enables the visitor to better understand this place and time in the context of the great  societal upheavals of the day: The Great Migration, The Great Depression, Civil Rights, World War II, Jim Crow Segregation, the Double V campaign, etc.;
  • is designed to be engaging, entertaining, and informing for audiences age 14 and up;
  • is part of a series of AR installations, immersive web destinations, and apps that chronicle and illuminate the history and significance of  American communities and their cultural, social, political, and entrepreneurial brilliance;
  • creates an extensive library of  3D recreations of the vanished architecture of the period and place.

Time Machine Components:

Augmented Reality  Installation

Immersive Web Destination

Educational Games

click on image for full-size map of Components (.pdf)

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  1. September 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    The idea is so brilliant it boggles my mind, although I am not surprised that Philip Jones could visualize, dream and create such a national heritage work. His imaginative mind coupled with his ability to invent procedures for creating new art forms transcends all the artists I have met who pretend to be doing these groundbreaking things. In my mind he is an American treasure!
    Richard Loveless, Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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