QR codes & little literature

During the week we received a map of all the Microgallery sites and their associated themes for the exhibition, this weekend.


27 disused and forgotten spaces around the Nowra CBD have been set aside as exhibition spaces and these will include literature for the first time. Some local writers, including myself, will be writing very short ekphrasis or locative literature pieces.

Part of the exhibition includes guided tours and these will follow a set route around the various sites. After reading about Matt Blackwood’s innovative locative literature projects using QR codes, I have decided to give it a try, just for fun.

My original idea was to use Emporium Lane and Dark Lane but when I saw the tour routes, decided that it would make sense to use two sites close to the start of the walking tour and to write it as a two part story, set across two locations, in chronological order.

As people will be scanning the codes using their phone and listening to an audio recording of me reading the stories (eeek!!), I thought it might be fun to write them as phone messages, taking inspiration from the themes: ‘Rewind’ and ‘Message’.

So I’ve written two very short phone messages, recorded them using my PC audio program which I then saved to Dropbox as two public files. Using these URLs and the free online program ‘QR Code generator’, I created two QR Codes that can be scanned using a smart phone or ipad. The code takes the listener to the recording (which can take 30 seconds to upload) and then they can listen to the story. Presumably, they could put it on speaker phone and share with others. I’m hoping that the tour guides can assist with that.

It took me a while to figure out how to do all of this. Although it was pretty simple, there are hundreds of programs and some conflicting information about file types etc.

I wanted to direct people to my website so that they could read the text version if there were any tech problems and to provide background information, so I would have liked to link directly to my blog, rather than use Dropbox. I did find some WordPress directions but have absolutely no idea what it all means. Not helpful WordPress!!

I didn’t have much lead time for this. If I had another week or two, I could have figured it out I’m sure. But for now, I can at least get the codes up and post the files separately on the blog. You are also able to insert artwork and logos into QR codes and change colours. I’d love to play with that some more but thought it best to keep it simple first time.

I have a feeling that it’s going to fail miserably but for me it was about a new learning experience and the opportunity to try a completely new medium.

The two stories and my Egans Lane piece will be posted next. I’d welcome comments from other writers who have used QR codes before or who have an interest in the medium. I think they’d be brilliant in museums and am thinking about the next potential project already !!This is very much a test drive.

I can’t wait to see all of the artwork this weekend.  The official launch will be Friday night, May 8th. Photos soon.