#cclasses: Augmented Reality

Over these three weeks, I am taking part in Connecting Classes (as explained here). It took a bit of getting used to, but it's nice to mix up the way we learn and the group of people we learn with. On Friday just gone, we focused on augmented reality.

One thing I found interesting was the use of the word aura to describe the augmented reality in contrast with the physical world. Aura is an interesting word, often associated with spirituality but also used to describe concrete phenomena in medical contexts. For example, aura is used to describe symptoms before an epileptic seizure. Even though the contexts of technology, spirituality and medical science seem at odds with each other, in each case, aura is used to describe something external to the physical world around us.

Jonathon Worth pointed out that 'aura' was also used by Walter Benjamin when talking about authenticity and the reproduction of art. According to Wikipedia, Benjamin said "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." It is this presence and unique existence that is an art's aura, which is absent in its reproduction.

It's not just jargon that's been pulled from other industries and disciplines. I liked the way that a lot of people using, creating and studying augmented reality cast the net quite wide when looking for inspiration and to problem solve. I think this culture is part of the reason it's not odd for artists to be talking about it and pushing forward using it.

In our group discussion in the second half of the class, Viv raised a key issue that really struck home with me. She noticed that one augmented reality project relied on everyone having a personal profile, and she pointed out that no one thinks in the same way all the time, and that people can simultaneously look at things from a personal point of view and a professional point of view. These boundaries are something I've been thinking about a lot recently as we have been collaborating on projects as a class and we have had to collectively set boundaries to give ourselves space away from them. I think a lot of people worry about how personal boundaries will be threatened with the introduction of new technology and it's a discussion in its own right.

Moving from theory into practice, Andrew brought augmented reality into the studio this week, and bar it randomly starting to listen to our conversation, which was weird enough to text home about, it seemed fairly easy to create with. I can't wait to see where this goes next!