(L-R): Set designer Annika Ley, Director Frank Heuel, Mayor Katja Dörner, Source: City of Bonn

In Bonn, you can catch urban stories, Pokemon-style

In Bonn, you can catch urban stories, Pokemon-style

The new app lets people experience the very personal stories of Bonn’s citizens, from encounters with politicians to love stories by the Rhine

Recently, authorities in the German city of Bonn announced the launch of a new augmented reality app called City Map. It lets people find and listen to personal stories spread throughout the city. The stories themselves were collected from former and current residents and always refer to specific places and specific times.

Through the app, the curious would-be catchers will be able to experience the history of the city streets and the lives that passed through them. One of the developers of the project, Frank Heuel, director of the Fringe Ensemble, explained that at its best, the City Map project is good theatre.

How it works

The project launched with a total of 50 locations and a collection of 50 stories. The places themselves are marked with information boards that have QR codes and scanning the codes would unlock the content. The stories, on the other hand, are in the form of audio plays, podcasts, interviews, sounds, music and photo stories.

They retell the history of the city from a different perspective – making the personal life of citizens part of the urban environment and breathing life into public spaces.

The stories cover a wide area and include memories from the time Bonn was the capital of West Germany. For example, a chance encounter with Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the longest-serving foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Germany – from 1969 to 1992, with brief periods of respite.

They also include stories about places that have disappeared like the Hertie department store or the Bonner Loch and stories about love by the Rhine river.

Development and future

The app was developed by a four-person team, made up of Frank Heuel, director of the Fringe Ensemble, a theatre company, set designer and video artist Annika Ley, game developer Fehime Seven and playwright Svenja Pauka.

The team worked with Bonn’s City Museum to bring the project to life, with development starting in January 2022. However, this is not the end-point of the project, as according to an official statement, they plan to continue growing the catalogue with new stories.

This is why they encourage citizens to continue sending in their cherished memories of the city and grow the experience.



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