(YouTube Annotation Map)
This piece plans to use photographic images and audio within YouTube, using it’s hyperlinking annotation feature, to create an interactive user experience that explores the visual presence and timelessness of the Former Magistrate’s Court, now known as Building 20.
Users will be presented with a starting point image on the corner of Russell and LaTrobe Street, and from there be presented with hyperlinks to investigate architectural details, or move around and into the building’s interior.
Ever since moving to Melbourne I’ve always been fascinated by the timelessness of the buildings, and the anachronistic atmosphere set by the contrast of old and new.
This project is one that is concerned with memorials, and remembering. It focuses on the presence of architecture, and how it acts as a kind of temporal gateway. Walking through the streets of Melbourne you can tune into the vastly different design paradigms and styles, and experience a kind of temporal schizophrenia; time doesn’t seem to have a strong grasp on how the city continues to grow and be refurbished.
Building 20 is simply one example of a structure that still stands after some 90 years, and has the privilege of being considered a Heritage building, and hence refurbishment by local architects, maintaining it’s facade while also keeping it fresh.
I plan to research further into the refurbishment of this building, particularly on the details that architect Peter Elliot considered before taking out the refurbishment.
Draft images, an audio mockup, and video simulation of what I plan the final product to look like can be found in this google drive folder.
Current targets for research and recording further material include:
- Further investigation into the final platform, YouTube’s capabilities and limitations, and whether alternatives can be considered: April 25th – 26th
- Research into the architectural influences of the building and pertinent details to focus on: April 25th – 26th
- Research into court cases significant and otherwise for further context: 28th April (State Library, online), 20th April (Pulic Records Office)
- Research into refurbishment, and Peter Elliot (architect) including potential email to ask for clarification in details of his approach to the design: 25th – 26th April
- Confirm that courtrooms are empty for second shoot for extra photographic and audio material: April 25th – 26th
- Second shooting day: May 2nd – 3rd (weekend if possible), if not, 5th or 7th
- Further processing of images: Coming weekend, days following
- Compile first drafts for uploading May 9th – 10th
- What is the idea?
- A meditative photo essay studying the visual significance of the Former Magistrates Court, now known as Building 20. Meanwhile, audio pieces will accompany the images to illustrate the timeliness – or rather, timelessness – and historical significance of the building by invoking sounds of last century and the modern city.
- Interactive elements will allow a user to navigate through the series of images & audio and view them at their own pace.
- What will it look like?
- Images will be tightly composed and considered to display the most pertinent features of the building’s exterior and interior.
- Photography will use a mixture of wide and tight shots, to focus in on architectural details.
- Emphasis will be put onto processing the images to bring out particular colours and shapeliness of the design, final images will not be so much realistic as embellished to better appreciate the visual presence of the heritage structure.
- Audio will be minimal, and will aim to primarily create a mood for each image or section of images. For example, aural details such as horses and carriages, and trams will help place the image in time, or perhaps throughout it’s time, by mixing sounds both old and new.
- Contextual information for each image may be included as a part of the image’s description, or perhaps as a part of each images aesthetic. This textual information would be minimal however as to not draw too much attention away from the visual aspect of the final piece.
- How will this style be achieved?
- The equipment being used is simple and nimble: Canon 60D with an 18-55mm & 50mm prime lens. The zoom lens provides wides, while the prime offers excellent frames for detail. A H2n zoom recorder will be used to record available sounds and foley, which will complement public domain and archival recordings in the audio pieces.
- Software will include Adobe Lightroom for image processing, and Adobe Audition for audio editing and mixing.
- While sound will be restrained in it’s execution, images will be processed to bring out the colours, textures, and shapeliness of the building’s architecture.
- What platform will it be hosted?
- Currently I am considering drawing on a quirky use of YouTube’s annotation system wherein each image can be rendered with the audio as a video, and sections of interest in each image can be highlighted as hyperlinks. By uploading images as these videos a private network of videos can be created so that users can navigate all of the videos like a virtual space.
- YouTube makes for a lightweight and widely appropriated platform too that can be embedded and shared very easily and hence is very well future proofed as a perk. Embed settings can remove the title and playhead to make for a cleaner experience also.
- This approach can however be clumsy in it’s execution, so other gallery/audio websites are being considered such as a blog that allows for full screen images and autoplay sound such as the more graphical blogging platform tumblr.
- What work has been completed so far?
- One location shoot has happened that yielded 80 photographs to be processed, of which a handful have gone through a first draft so far. Some areas of interest such as the courtrooms were being used during this shoot so a second trip will be organised when these spaces are free to photograph the remaining areas
- Some sample audio has been looked over using freesound.org (a very useful website along with archive.org for user generated public domain material) to accompany images, but the bulk of the sound will be picked once more photographs have been processed to match them.
- What research is required?
- More investigation into the capability and limitations of YouTube, and other blogging platforms, is needed to determine what the final platform will be.
- Some further research into the Romanesque architecture that the building was designed with in mind is required, to provide myself and users some context of the style and type of architecture being viewed.
- Details of significant court cases trialled in the courtrooms will be fleshed out to provide further context also.
- Some research on, and if possible a short interview with, the architect Peter Elliot who carried out the refurbishment of the building to garner more details on how he approached the refurbishment, and how it respects the significance of the original building.
- How will it address the theme of places and spaces?
- I want to address the question of “Why do we remember?”. As Paul Gough came and spoke to use he talked about why we build memorials, and I’d like to, with this project, explore the beauty and significance of heritage design and the history that takes place within it. There is a strange timelessness to buildings such as this one, especially in Melbourne, and to consider that it still stands with all of the history that took place in and around it astounds me, and in a way, I hope this project will also in it’s own way memorialise the building.