Cornish Tales: an AI Audio Adventure

Cornish Tales: an AI Audio Adventure

Writer

Lauren Hayhurst

November 21, 2021

What’s the worst thing about lockdown? For some people it’s the gyms closing, for others, the baby clubs. The vast majority would say they miss the pub. Well, Cornish Tales won’t get you fit or babysit, but you do get to visit a traditional tavern and chat to the locals! And that’s not all. These guys aren’t just any locals. They are ‘memory miners’, and the tavern just happens to be situated in Memory Lane – the place between time and space where the past can be relived!

A blend of sound effects and actual audio footage – foraged from achieves and museums across Cornwall – this interactive AI journey promises to be an informative and immersive experience. Using Alexa software and Natural Language Processing (NLP), Cornish Tales will work on any Alexa smart speaker, or on the Alexa app. Within a few voice commands, you can be exploring over 400 potential narrative pathways and take in memories from across the globe.

You might discover the rise of painting in St Ives, then find yourself in the Solomon Islands watching a canoe breeze across the water, and then be back in Lerryn Village for Christmas. And that’s just your first visit! If music’s more your thing, then, what luck! The band’s just setting up! At any point you can ‘check out the song list’ and kick back with a Cornish folk classic, even if you don’t know the words, by the end you’ll be singing along!

Cornish Tales is the culmination of what was initially a 6-month research project funded by the Museums Association’s Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund, and The Space. Our main aim was to reimagine how we utilise audio archive material and make it more accessible to new and existing audiences through the use of Smart Speakers. This was a vastly experimental project, crossing brand new territory for everyone involved, bringing Hi9’s technical and creative expertise alongside some incredible organisations across Cornwall.

Huge thanks to Amy Shakespeare, Innovation Manager at Cornwall Museum Partnership, Rowan Musser, Archivist at Kresen Kernow, Alan Renton, Collections Manager at PK Porthcurno, Janet Axten and John Pollard volunteers from St Ives Archive, and Clare Freeman, Podcast Coach and Company Director of ASFB Productions.

Cornish Tales is growing every day, so check back regularly for more songs, more memories and maybe even a slice of adventure! Unleashing memories between time and space? What could possibly go wrong?!