Bringing the Columbian Exposition Back to Life in Augmented Reality

On May 1st 1893, President Grover Cleveland opened the Columbian Exposition on the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Jackson Park on the south side of Chicago. No matter how strong our sense of nostalgia is, the past is gone. But what if we could bring pieces of it into the present?

On the 129th anniversary of that opening, we released the first views of Chicago 1893’s augmented reality experience. Chicago 1893 has been working for the last year to do just that by recreating the largest buildings from the event that were originally located around the Grand Basin. This project aims to create museum-like digital assets focused on historical integrity and architecture with the intention of expanding broadly toward experiences focused on learning and richer functionality for entertainment.

These structures are being rendered in 1:1 scale. The goal is to allow people to perceive the scope of the buildings the way those in 1893 did, if sculptures loomed from 100 feet above they will within augmented reality as well. Just imagine: classical architecture, anywhere in the world — No matter where!

Ever since HG Wells published “The Time Machine” people have been fascinated with the idea of time travel — the Chicago 1893 XR project begs the question: “what if you could bring the past to back life?”

The Columbian Exposition is arguably the most notable World’s Fair of all time but very little of its architectural legacy remains. Over the last four years we have been diligently scouring archives to compile the documentation required to render the buildings in digital 3D for augmented reality which were created by some of the finest architects of the Gilded Age.

Now we are in the final stages of Phase 1’s buildout which includes the major structures located around the Grand Basin. The plan is to make the first asset available to the public this summer. It will be the Administration Building, a Beaux-Arts structure designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt who is also responsible for the entrance facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

You can expect more details as we approach this initial release.

Join us and see the Columbian Exposition come back to life.

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1893 Chicago’s Columbian Exposition

If we are connected on Twitter, you are probably aware of my year and a half long obsession with the Columbian Exposition. Well, it goes back even further in time but has recently percolated into a new media project.

This year I released a book on the topic via Amazon. Say what you will about their management practices, they allow small-market authors to release indie books in physical and digital formats. I am also preparing to publish it in audiobook format through Audible as well.

If you’d like to get a look at the book, which is full of commentary, images from the event, as well as my own photography from around modern-day Chicago, here is the link to it. It is available in paperback and for Kindle.

I think it’s important to publish your work – as someone once said “real artists ship”.

“you all forgot black grape”

Wilson was a Cambridge-educated intellectual, trade unionist, Situationist, Granada TV star and post-punk record-label co-founder.

Ryder was a street urchin singer and songwriter with an appetite for drugs so ferocious he once infamously sold his clothes to buy crack (he’s now several years clean).

Despite both hailing from Salford, the two should probably never have crossed paths, much less worked together and formed a deep and long-lasting bond which once saw Wilson describe Ryder’s slice-of-life, vernacular-heavy lyrics as being “on a par with WB Yeats”.

— Malcolm Jack

Mr. Artaud, To Have Done with the Judgment of God

Here true competence belongs to the literality of the interpretation of words. Besides, in what is improperly called the “commentary” of the drawing entitled La Maladresse sexuelle de dieu (The Sexual Awkwardness of God). It is not in order to exploit the awkward outreach of his mind. He was skinned naked in a bath of electricity, as each electro-shock patient is exposed to an artificially-created death – at this stage in Artaud’s work [1946], all manifestations of death are states of black magic that have to be overturned. This drawing (a treason and translation of the sexual awkwardness of god) are the ghosts of words are suddenly taking up the space. They reveal the original skill of the drawing:

Artaud The Sexuality of God
La Maladresse sexuelle de dieu 1946

Throwing, throwing oneself: in words, as in painting, the intonation projects, it is dynamite content, the motion expelling it into a space that is nothing other than the elements of this tonal trajectory, the difference between the projectile and the subjectile, the latter sometimes becoming the target of the former. Artaud says it as early as 1931, in “La Mise en scène et la métaphysique” (Mise-en-Scène and Metaphysics), a lecture at the Sorbonne that deals first of all with painting: Words themselves have their own potential as sound, they have various ways of being projected into space, which are called intonations. And there is a great deal that could be said about the concrete value of intonation in the theater, about this quality that words have — apart from their concrete meaning — of creating their own music according to the way in which they are uttered, which can even go against that meaning — of creating beneath language an undercurrent of impressions, correspondences, analogies. . .

The following year, a letter to André Gide prescribes a bodily writing, a theatrical hieroglyphics: The movements, the attitudes, the bodies of the characters will be composed or decomposed like hieroglyphs. This language will pass from one sense organ to another, establishing analogies and unforeseen associations among series of objects, series of sounds, series of intonations.

The intonation that projects the words beyond their meaning, even into a counter-meaning: it is not only in the sounded work that it seems to have its place.

Like everything that is projected, it takes and in fact opens space, this “poetry in space” that “first takes on all the means of expression that can be used on the stage, like music, dance, paint, pantomime, mimicry, gesticulation, intonations, architecture, lighting, and decor . . . in our theater which has been living under the exclusive dictatorship of the word, this language of signs and mimicry, this silent pantomime, these attitudes, these gestures in the air, these objective intonations, in short everything I consider as specifically theatrical in the theater . . . carelessly called ‘art.’

close to the edit

an epic influence that changed the course of my life, from early mtv (back when they played videos and wanted to inspire people) – a few years later I bought an HR-16b 😉