May 19, 2010

Future Everything has just finished in Manchester, England. I didn’t manage to get there as I’m buried in marking at the moment but there were quite a few installations, performannces etc. worth visiting. RememberMe (image above, video below) by the TOTem (Tales Of Things and Electronic Memory) project caught my eye in particular. At the Oxfam shop, near Contact Theatre:

a research assistant will be based in the shop and recording brief stories about the donated objects into a microphone: where they acquired it, the memories attached and any associated stories. This audio clip will be linked to an RFID tag and QR code. During FutureEeverything all tagged items will then join the shop’s stock. Customers, including conference delegates, will be invited to use our bespoke RFID readers, or their own smart phone to browse artifacts, displayed amongst the many thousands of other objects. Once triggered, RememberMe labeled objects, will replay the story through speakers located in the shop, evoking ghosts of the past. Tagged objects will be in the public domain for purchase by other members of the community. Our iPhone and Android apps will allow them to access the story for years to come.

Here a write up about the work on Wired.

Posted by: Garrett @ 10:58 am
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May 9, 2010
Esquire, The Augmented Reality Issue

Last December Esquire published an augmented reality issue (image above). Can’t say I’m an avid reader or fan of Esquire and yes we are wandering quite a lot off the topic of networked art however the idea of this issue intrigued me enough to find a copy. It only appeared in America so I’ve been trawling eBay for the last month trying to find a copy while the application you use with it can simply be downloaded from the Esquire site.

The number of markers used in the magazine is disappointingly low, five for content and one for a Lexus advertisement, but this is hardly surprising, it is a magazine after all. The first marker (three images above) triggers an introduction by Robert Downey Jr. What’s interesting here is not just that the application is detecting the marker but when tilted along two different axis it’s also detecting its orientation and the same marker triggers different content.

Almost the same technique is used in the style section (two images above) of the magazine, the four orientations of the marker here trigger animations of the same model wearing different clothes for different seasons, an interactive catwalk. The design of this section is quite good, lots of animation and the video of yourself holding up the magazine becomes the backdrop to the whole scene.

The last interesting section (I’ve skipped one as it simply plays an audio file) is the Lexus advert (two images above) which takes a completely different approach / design to using the marker. Instead of seeing a scene pop up from the magazine you see the video of yourself modified through a number of filters and overlaid graphics (think Terminator vision!). This machine vision is supposed to be how the Lexus can ‘see’ and detect cars in front in order to reduce speed / apply automatic brakes etc.

Overall there are a couple of interesting techniques in the magazine. Its last page has a list of non computer things which are already ‘augmented’ versions of something and compared to the content is almost a profound way of finishing with the statement, Augmented Reality, it’s newness is really just in its method of presentation.

Below is editor David Granger demoing the interactive magazine.

Posted by: Garrett @ 9:08 pm
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May 6, 2010
Kool-Aid Man in Second

Kool-Aid Man in Second by Jon Rafman is surreal and absolutely mesmerising. The work which is (although it seems never clarified) an ongoing performance consisting of Rafman’s alterego Kool-Aid Man exploring Second Life and seeking out kitsch. There is a good write up Kool-Aid Man in Second on Not Possible in Real Life with an interesting trail of comments. Rafmans states in an interview there:

I see Kool-Aid Man as a self-conscious professional web surfer “breaking through walls” into various Second Life communities and subcultures. He never fully fits in, but he empathizes with whatever he passes. Like Baudelaire’s Flaneur, wandering the arcades of Fin-du-Siecle Paris, Kool-Aid Man keeps a cool and curious eye, strolling through the virtual world in search for the banal sublime. Kool-Aid Man’s motto is best summed up by a line at the beginning of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil: “I’ve been round the world several times and now only banality still interests me. On this trip, I’ve tracked it with the relentlessness of a bounty hunter.’

Below is a extract of video documentation of the performance however the (almost) 22 minutes or 130mb of performance on the artists site is well worth watching.

Posted by: Garrett @ 10:58 pm
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