This autumn, explore London’s Chinatown in a different way and see the place in a new light, by taking a tour with a creative app.
Chinese Arts Now (CAN) will be launching a new version of their immersive audio tour through Chinatown this September. The Augmented Chinatown 2.0 app invites you to experience augmented reality visuals, revealing miniature dramas behind the building facades.
As you take the tour with this innovative app, you will be able to hear stories, discover the hidden history and soak up the atmosphere as you uncover the area’s secrets.
London’s Chinatown, and the area it sits in, has been the stage for a multitude of stories over its constantly evolving history. Augmented Chinatown 2.0 will bring some of those stories to life in this immersive augmented reality experience. The app uses a mix of striking visuals, miniature audio dramas and atmospheric music to create this alternative guided tour through the area’s past and present.
Taking the Chinatown tour
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you start the tour in Newport Place and walk the streets, guided by writer and narrator Joel Tan. Over the course of an hour, Tan’s narration will help you uncover Chinatown’s history, architecture and culture, along with ideas about belonging, identity and migration.
Throughout the tour, Tan evokes the sensory impact of the streets, the ornate decorations, the tempting smells and tastes, and distinctive sounds. With the help of Tan, you will journey to the four Chinatown gates (the last of which was created by Chinese artists); and find out how the iconic pagoda was demolished in 2015 without consultation.
At five locations along the way, you will have the opportunity to delve deeper into hidden dramas. Plunge into the lives of characters including Kim, a stripper who met the Beatles; Anita, a homesick waitress; and a woman whose home is being raided by immigration officials.
Augmented Chinatown 2.0 is an app from the UK’s leading platform for British Chinese artists, Chinese Arts Now. CAN produce and create art, telling Chinese stories in contemporary and innovative ways.
A creative journey
The app was developed by Donald Shek and written by Joel Tan. Shek’s augmented reality adds an extra dimension as you walk around. Visuals have been created to overlay onto the real-life environment. Tall flowers blossom from the pavement, lanterns light up overhead and washing hangs down from the buildings. The soundscore, composed by An-Ting Chang with DJ QuestionMark, includes interactive elements in response to both the augmented reality and the miniature dramas.
If you can’t travel into London at the moment, then there is an off-site version of the app which can be explored from home.
When: Available from 15th September 2020
Where: Downloadable from Google Play and the Apple Store.
£: The app costs £2.99 – £4.99
More info: www.chineseartsnow.org.uk