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With Community

2nd Story

  • closeup of a phone showing a video

2nd Story uses augmented reality technology to map personal stories onto local places.  Imagine holding up your phone to an empty staircase in Vancouver’s Blood Alley. The 2nd Story app recognizes the location, and a woman appears sweeping the stairs.  At other locations a voice in your ear tells of arriving in 1973 during Gastown Days; working in the 80s for the Friendship Centre; a love affair celebrated with an annual collision.   Time is yours to travel. What is hidden can be shown. Multiple perspectives mingle with your present day experience as your explore the visible and invisible social architecture of this much-mythologized and little known place.

For this project, personal stories from and about the area known as ‘Blood Alley’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside have been gathered and documented. The area has been chosen for its long, often constructed, history, and as a microcosmic example of a neighborhood in transition: a Single Room Occupancy hotel and shelter stands across the alley from a new condo development with boutiques and restaurants on the ground floor. Nine of these stories were adapted into short videos by a team of film and theatre artists. The videos download onsite into the 2nd Story app developed by media artist and creative coder Jesse Scott, making it possible for visitors to discover these hidden stories for themselves. Our interest is in cultivating human connections in fragmenting times: using the ancient power of storytelling together with our portable powerful technologies. In association with PHS Community Services and the SFU Office of Community Engagement, we’ve created an artistic experience unlike any other, and a set of tools we can take to other places.


DATE: October 2014

VENUE: Bloody Alley Square

WITH: Heart of the City Festival / Portland Housing Society (PHS)


Eric Rhys Miller

Production Manager

Colin Cooper

Videographer/ Video Design

Colin Askey

Visual Design

Flo Barrett

Site Technical Director/ locations

Liam Kupser

Assistant Director

Jessica Han

Storyboarder/ Production Assistant

Samantha Tsang

Camera/ Editor/ Video Design

Sepehr Samimi

App Developer

Jessie Scott

App Designer

Jessica Butler

Assistant Producer

Kaylin Metchie

Sweeping: Suzie Q

Tasha Faye Evans

Bicycles: Young Tim

Corey Payette

Bicycles: Young June, Umbrellas: same

Cailtlin McCarthy

Bicycles: Older Tim

Jason Wilson

Bicycles: June's daughter

Nyla Carpenter

Bicycles: Older June

Rebecca Walters

Gunshot: Aaron, Pennies: Cola

Kylie Jespersen

Gunshot: Frank the customer

Rob Salvador

Shrooms: Fudge, Umbrellas: same

Stephanie Izsak

Beef Tongue: Ed, Umbrellas: Ed

Billy Marchenski

Beef Tongue: Linda

Angela Konrad

Pennies: Deborah

Meaghan Chenosky

Pennies: Julie (Deb's friend)

Mary Galloway

Umbrellas: David M.

Ryan Scramstad

Copper Thief: Ray the Thief

Mack Gordon