unreal-estates and v1b3 have produced an augmented reality application for internet enabled mobile devices that interrogates the meaning of public space using models, images, text, and movies overlaid on locations in Chicago’s Loop. Principal investigators include Annette Barbier, Drew Browning, Conrad Gleber, Mat Rappaport, rootoftwo (that’s us) and Gail Rubini. Invited artists include Celine Browning, Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook.
Our Project: WithervaneAR
Locations: Rookery Building; Chicago Board of Trade; Lurie Gardens; BP Pedestrian Bridge
WithervaneAR is an aesthetic exploration of blended realities that adopts the conventions of corporations that have moved to be part of this new space. In a word we are advertising: this location, this city, ourselves, our work, this group, this funder, this 3rd party platform, this platform, and this context. This is a system that seemingly offers new opportunities for engagement but AR can also been seen as a system that merely acts upon rather than truly responds to user behavior. How can we move beyond merely “smart” environments and objects to synergistic environments and objects? Maybe AR will be part of that evolution as platforms become easier to use and applications become more ubiquitous. But for now – perhaps it is only moving new media art back to the point and click of screen-based interactivity of the mid-late 1990s? While this work attempts to solve some practical and technical considerations, it is also intended to allow for the examination of the social and cultural aspects of machine-mediated interaction and is a first attempt. A flirtation with a format.
We have ‘augmented’ locations in Chicago that are significant to the insurance industry with images from the ‘dustbowl‘ and advertising slogans from the marketing departments of 1930s insurance campaigns. Our WithervaneAR ‘branding’ is a mash-up of various logos. They are a series of adverts for our forthcoming Whithervane project.
Smartphone screengrab from Drew Browning.