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Kevin Slavin's Talk on How Augmented Reality isn't Real Enough

[T]he initial buzz was slightly misleading as it suggested that the presentation was an outright dismissal of AR. I don't really think this was the case...My reading of the talk is that Slavin is extremely curious about augmenting reality—as praxis—and suggesting we (startups, developers and consumers) need to be considerably more thoughtful in our application/exploration of the emerging medium and consider how it might activate other senses – AR should not distill down to "an overlay for all seasons". I think the key takeaway point is in Slavin's suggestion that "reality is augmented when it feels different, not looks different" – which basically echoes Marcel Duchamp's (almost) century-old contempt for the 'retinal bias' of the art market. If AR development (thus far) is lacking imagination, perhaps the problem is that we're very much tethering the medium to our antiquated VR pipe dreams and the web browser metaphor.

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Tabor Robak June 13 2011 10:57Reply

I absolutely agree that the "VR pipe dreams and the web browser metaphor" are holding the medium back.  But in terms of the larger discussion about AR it is really hard to talk about what it feels like to live in an AR world until we have some decent video contacts…and until it gets past the point where we the consumers can get something better than a dinky baseball card that is more trouble than it is worth.

Eborp June 13 2011 15:54Reply

"Like, umm, just like." Employing blank sarcasm and cursing freely doesn't solve the basic problems that Augmented Reality is now operant for 20 million consumers weekly in the form of blended 3-D via glasses. In one year data to these glasses will be singular, allowing head movement to uncover hidden objects and recap to those arriving late to the Imax. This is an unconvincing, poorly delineated response to the future of all media, and clearly Slavin is not current on the technology under development in many levels of media. Without a proper reading of theorists like Gelertner of technicians like R.L. Gregory, the speaker is coordinating data merely to suit his arguments. He displays anger that a machine would display text on a overlay for itself, but he neglects to comprehend the phrases themselves are merely a stand-in for a concept of choice the machine has. Terminator's overlays are much more experimental than Slavin leads us to believe, and like an academic (instead of the operator he claims he is) he questions the tool not its meaning. The Terminator screen is showing us primarily that the Machine has a choice, not that the machine must read English. How do we know this? The audience laughs not when the screen appears, but when it chooses the most basic response and gruffly speaks it. His nitpicking prevents comprehending the future of machines and augmented reality. This was not just sloppy, but worthless.

Will Pappenheimer June 13 2011 19:56Reply

I would say, as one who uses public versions of this medium in an art working mode, that it is precisely the primitive state of AR, that makes it as DuChamp would have wished, non-retinal. It is potent because it must rely on conceptual suggestion. It is at the 8-bit or gif stage. I agree with Slavin about the memisis problem, but in a strange way he conflates this desire at the same time as he dises it.

Tabor Robak June 14 2011 20:40Reply

People intrested in this topic might like some of the papers by Dr. Alan Blackwell.  Here is a short piece that got me thinking: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/conference/experiencingcriticaltheory/Blackwell-DarkSide.pdf

micha cárdenas June 15 2011 16:58Reply

Well, what about when 3-d augmented reality feels A LOT like porn, or perhaps IS porn, as in the case of our new piece virus.circus.laboratory in the Speculative show opening thursday at LACE?

micha cárdenas June 15 2011 16:59Reply

Here's a video that's part of our augmented reality installation:

balasan June 20 2011 02:34Reply

Seems like people are giving AR a little too much credit. Its cool and all, but I doubt it will be the next Internet, at least not any time soon. Having worked with mobile AR and having built advanced custom apps, I think there are too many limitations to get past the obviousness of the screen overlay and the novelty of the initial experience.
However, it is a powerful tool for communicating certain ideas and concepts through visual language in a portable, mobile way. Obviously advertising agencies are psyched about it and there will be many more dinky baseball cards, but hopefully we can also see a fruitful art practice emerge that will compliment the newly flourishing net.art scene.