time machine

The app shows the future of New Orleans with an underwater version of the city. 

A New Orleans filmmaker, with the help of a few LSU students, is hoping to give people a glimpse into the future of New Orleans through augmented reality and a smartphone.

The project will take place at the LUNA Fête Festival in New Orleans. The festival takes place from Dec. 6-9 in

Lafayette Square from 6-10 p.m. Donations to the project can be given via its Go Fund Me.

Filmmaker Tricia Towey is the director behind “Time Machine,” an art project that will allow viewers to see the future of New Orleans up to 300 years in the future. She was inspired by the upcoming anniversary for the city.

“This is the tri-centennial year for the city of New Orleans and there’s been a lot of events talking about the history of New Orleans,” Towey said. “I just started thinking, ‘What is New Orleans going to be like 300 years in the future?’”

time machine

To help execute her vision, Towey contacted Marc Aubanel, director of the Digital Media Arts and Engineering program, to recruit a few LSU students from the video game design program.

For digital art senior Avery Canevari, Time Machine was an excellent opportunity to develop skills she had already learned throughout her studies as well as gain new experiences and knowledge, she said.

“I’ve always worked with this [software] but there are parts of it that I’ve never gotten to use,” Canevari said. “I got to learn a lot more about the program that I use frequently, and I also learned programs that I wouldn’t have otherwise used before.”

The augmented reality begins when you download the project’s app. Inside the app, you scan information signs with graphics on it, allowing you to see the future of New Orleans at different stages through the screen of your smartphone.

The installation begins with showing audiences a reestablished Lincoln Beach along Lake Pontchartrain just 15 years into the future. Other visuals show you a high-speed train from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and the city being taken over by Harrah’s Casino. The app culminates up to 300 years in the future when New Orleans is projected to be completely underwater.

“A lot of people down here that I have talked to about this idea say, ‘New Orleans is not going to be here. It will be underwater. It will be gone,’” Towey said. “Well, if it is going to be underwater, there will still probably be people here. What is that going to be like?”

Towey said she hopes the app will show audiences that just as New Orleans has grown and evolved in the last 300 years, it will continue to grow and develop over the next 300. She also hopes to show a sense of urgency as the city continues to merge underwater.

“I hope that I get people to start thinking about what New Orleans will be like in the future,” Towey said. “We are the canary in the coalmine. We already know that places along the coastline are rapidly disappearing, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is seriously thinking about what we’re going to do. If the city goes underwater, what are we going to do?”

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