Mobilizing Paris

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Mobilizing Paris is an interactive mobile app that teaches people the history of power and protest in Paris, France. The app guides users through the streets of Paris and uses augmented reality to digitally (re)place historic images and protest posters. As a result, the app helps learners understand how art, architecture, and city design shapes the mobility of people and protest. 

Mobilizing Paris uses art to map movements and also serves as a prototype for what I call educational A.R.T. (Augmented Reality Tours). Mobilizing Paris was developed in partnership with the Sorbonne and The Bibliotheque national de France.

Role: Designer, Grant Writer

Responsibilities: Research, Information Architecture, LX Design, eLearning Development, Prototyping, Grant Writing, Narration, User Testing, Evaluation

 

Audience: Adults in Paris, France, Mobility and Design Scholars

 

Tools Used: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Premier Pro, HP Reveal, Carto

CONTEXT

In May 1968, over 11 million people marched through Paris pasting posters and spraying Marxist graffiti to protest unfair labor conditions and capitalist ideology. The iconic posters ignited the public and wrote a script for resistance in the city streets. Buildings, bridges, and avenues became art galleries that guided protest and people movements. 

PROBLEM

While the architecture of Paris remains, the iconic posters have moved from city streets to archives and private collections. The once powerful history has been erased in favor of modern amenities. Historic plaques and markers rarely mention the protest movements and minority voices that shaped the city.

RESULT

Mobilizing P(AR)IS uses augmented reality to reveal hidden histories. Using GPS and a clickable map, the app guides users to sites of protest and projects archival photos and video through digital overlays. Through an audio narration and AR prompts, learners participate in an interactive history lesson that interfaces with the city streets.

Approach

Since the app operates on a European network, the prototypes were developed on site and additional web interfaces help learners access content. The design features minimal text and instead uses icons and images to reduce language barriers. Through the self-guided tour, learners can access historic moments and movements as they walk through the city streets.

Web Interface

The Mobilizing Paris web interface features a downloadable google map that highlights the augmented reality points of interest. Users can follow the map to retrace protest routes, access AR overlays, and learn more about the graffiti and art that inspired people to take to the streets.

Trigger Points

Augmented reality trigger points are physical sites that prompt a digital pop-up. Trigger points can be visual or GPS based. Mobilizing Paris includes iconic visual landmarks as well as everyday street signs, historic statues, store fronts, and Wallace Fountains. The tour prioritizes accessibility and moves learners to 34 locations across central Paris.  

Digital Overlays

Digital overlays pop-up and reveal the hidden history of protest in Paris. Overlays feature protest signs and graffiti from May 1968 as well as historic photos and archival materials. The tour amplifies marginalized voices so that learners can experience multiple layers of history and (through their own movements) analyze how city design influences mobility.