In the fall of 2014, students in the Department of Dance’s Site-Specific Composition course utilized Augmented Reality technology to explore the 125-year history and found new ways to contextualize and reveal it. Students interpreted a number of dance-related images from the Archives to create short site-specific dances, each filmed on the site specific to the image and each 125 seconds in length. Through the use of a free, custom-made Augmented Reality App – Barnard Augmented – the public was able to view these dances throughout the year on their personal mobile devices. The app guided the user through a tour of the campus, triggering image-recognition technology which automatically made the dances associated with the site appear in the frame of the participant’s smartphone. Part time-capsule, part platform, part memorial, this immersive installation transformed the Barnard Campus into a living archive while at the same time creating new spaces for creative expression.
These interactive dances sutured Barnard’s past with its future by linking the archival photograph with mobile technology, summoning the traces of dances past through new and innovative site-specific dances, and drawing upon the inspiration of dancers from yesterday to body forth Barnard’s digital future.