Phone Tech Gives Jazz Greats New Life

9 November 2010

John Goto

Mobile showing silhouette from Alberta Hunter, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1928.

At the moment this technology is mainly used to help you find your nearest coffee shop or transport link but it has a massive potential to inspire and educate.

Dr Matthew Leach, Researcher in the University's Centre for Learning and Teaching.

John Goto

Mobile showing silhouettes from Lil Hardin Armstrong and Mary Lou Williams , Royal Albert Hall, 1953.

Jazz greats of the 20th Century are being brought back to the streets of London today through a collaboration between a University of Derby artist and a technical wizard.

Renowned artist Professor John Goto's series of photo artworks West End Blues: Jazz Migrants in London 1919-1974 shows silhouettes of jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Art Pepper and Sidney Bechet against the real London music spots they once played at.

Mobile phone users can now bring those same silhouette images up on their phone's screen when they visit those London sites today, by using a mobile phone app(lication).

For example, when standing outside the London Palladium their phone screen will show the silhouette of Louis Armstrong, as he appears in Professor Goto's picture: Louis Armstrong, London Palladium, 1932. The phone user can also access guided directions between sites, background information on the Jazz musician and hear samples of their work.

Professor Goto worked on the 'Augmented Reality' project with Derby colleague Dr Matthew Leach. Both are part of the University's Digital and Material Arts Research Centre

Their project uses a mobile phone application called Layar, which can be downloaded for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Professor Goto said: "I heard Matthew give a presentation on Augmented Reality, the subject of his doctoral thesis. Almost in passing he mentioned the Layar application, which triggered the thought that it might offer a new way of presenting my West End Blues series.

"The series evokes past musical events in London's West End. The figures appear like spectres in the contemporary streets of Soho, and Layar offers the possibility of bringing together past and present in a strange and evocative way."

Dr Leach - a researcher in the University's Centre for Learning and Teaching - added: "Connecting information with location is very powerful. You can be standing in an unfamiliar place and learn things about your surroundings that even the locals wouldn't know.

"At the moment this technology is mainly used to help you find your nearest coffee shop or transport link but it has a massive potential to inspire and educate."

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email

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