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Brunswick’s buildings come to life with a new explorative app

By Jamil Allouche

Brunswick is home to a variety of significant buildings, from beautiful Victorian heritage houses to the eclectic architectural pick-n-mix that is the Brunswick Community Health Centre. Real estate in Brunswick offers a range of exciting homes mirroring the smorgasbord of cultures and demographics that take up residence in this ever-growing city.

A new participatory art project launched earlier this year allows residents and visitors alike to experience and build upon the rich history and culture of Brunswick. Invisible Cities is a free app for both Apple and Android devices that shares stories of personal connections with Brunswick's buildings.

Listening in to Brunswick's narrative

Once downloaded, the app triggers audio stories connected to various sites as you walk around the city. The stories vary from a woman reminiscing about her first ever date to an anecdote about being caught turning an abandoned building into art, or a tale of ongoing ties to a park as it grows through the years.

The app was first developed using stories from Central Melbourne, with support from the City of Melbourne 2015 Arts Grants Program, and has since received funding from the Moreland City Council to include Brunswick.

Invisible Cities is designed to explore the interactions between the city's buildings and its people and portray Brunswick as it lives in the minds of its people.

"Hearing a story about a place, whether it's from a friend or a stranger, adds a layer to our own story of that place and strengthens our relationship with it," said Asha Bee Abraham, the artist responsible for the app's original concept.

"We can get so caught up in our lives and stop paying attention to the people and places around us. I hope that hearing stories like these can help bring the explorer's sense of wonder and curiosity into the familiar every day."

Letting your own stories be heard

Whether you live, work, play, or have simply passed through Brunswick, the developers invite anyone who has meaningful memories about a site within the city to submit their tales. Currently only 10 stories are available in the app, but stories will be recorded through to the end of the year.

All stories are recorded on the grounds of the relevant site so that the ambient sound remains intact and feeds into the narrative. After the story is live, a plaque is put up on the site to alert passersby of your story's presence.

Who is Asha Bee Abraham?

The artist behind Invisible Cities, Asha Bee Abraham, holds a Masters of Science in Human Ecology, which she uses to inform her artwork. She aims to create opportunities for people to share and examine their relationships – with each other, ourselves, and the places we call home.

Recently, she has been involved in facilitating a Supper Club event at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The event, named Place and Displacement invited diners to join discussions regarding their view of place, with regards to Indigenous culture, environment priorities, land development, and home or homelessness.

Her work aims to inspire transition and broaden our minds to more complex understanding of "place".

So if thought-provocation is your cup of tea, go on and download Invisible Cities, listen to the rich variety of memories the people of Brunswick hold dear, and then start to make some memories of your own. To begin your hunt for a home in this multicultural metropolis, contact the team at Ray White Brunswick today.

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