VPAP and mCenter Q&A
Q & A by way of email between Chris Manzione, founder of Virtual Public Art Project, and Mimi Sheller, director of Drexel University’s new Center for Mobilities Research and Policy. Breadboard has two projects planned with VPAP, one of which is set to launch in the Fall of 2010.
MS: Do you envision VPAP mainly as a new form of public art, using new technologies and spaces for the display of art; or do you think it has the potential to introduce a transformative experience into public space, going beyond art worlds to affect the way we actually interact with and use public space?
CM: Both. First, I see VPAP at the moment just as your question stated, “a new form of public art using technology and public spaces for display of art.” Moving into the future with advances in network and devices I do see VPAP being a more transformative experience, becoming more of an environment in which to interact with. Using something like this.
This is all new and not very easily understood or explained. Time and introduction to a new way of interacting with the world around us will be needed. “The new is made comfortable by being made familiar, since it is seen as having gradually evolved the forms of the past.” — Rosalind Krauss’ Sculpture in the Expanded Field .
Placement of these virtual AR sculptures under Krauss’ diagram (below) is unclear. They contain site and non-site. The location of the sculpture is one of data and is stored in the phone or on the network, but to get to this data and see/interact with it requires your physical presence with another place. Once at the site, your experience is fully mediated, having nothing physical to attach your eyes to except through the screen of your phone.
The sculpture I will be making for Socrates Sculpture Park is an attempt to evolve a more traditional format of sculpture. (attached images). I will be placing a marker or code onto the physical sculpture to give a point of reference for the camera to read off of. If the viewer has access to a smartphone, they will be able to interact with an additional component of the sculpture. A virtual model will attach itself to the physical sculpture, able to be viewed using the phone.
MS: Thanks for the reply and all the interesting links! It arrived just as I was reading this blog post at www.themobilecity.nl : some-notes-on-the-design-of-pervasive-games. So the coincidence got me wondering: what do you think is the relation between AR and “pervasive gaming”?
Before we were talking about AR as art and as intervention in urban public space, but what if we also think about the relation between art, public space and pervasive gaming — what role does AR play in that mix? The Mobile City Blog talks about pervasive gaming as games, as performative arts, and as extensions of urban culture. A question is posed, that might apply to VPAP too: “How can we add a certain playfulness to everyday urban situations, in order to enhance urban culture?”
CM: As far as AR and pervasive gaming goes, I see AR being almost exclusively mobile. AR is giving space to existing information about the world around us. It seems only logical that pervasive games would be apart of this. I can see these types of games coming into the world of AR in a couple of ways. As of right now I see them being used for treasure hunts, capture the flag, site specific puzzles such as mazes and most any geo-tagging game. What is going to change in the near future is that you will be able to interact with these objects or data giving way for full-on AR games. Right now we are limited to just looking and listening with AR, but soon enough we will be able to fully interact with a variety of virtual components. Maybe a large game of virtual dodge ball!
It’s interesting that you bring this up. I have been planning a project with New York artist Tom Russoti, who has been doing performative athletic games, which he calls Aesthletics. Russoti also runs wifflehurling.com. I have been talking with him about integrating a virtual billboard like sign into one of his events.
To answer your question about “bringing a playfulness to everyday urban situations”- I feel there is currently a great opportunity for what you asked about in markers. Markers are going to introduce a whole new level of interaction. They are stable; they do not require a GPS signal, and they can be printed! You could potentially have thousands of markers that exist. If there are going to be pervasive games with AR, it’s going to start with markers. Adidas’ Augmented Reality shoe becomes the controller, using a marker on the front of the show to facilitate the game playing (see here).
The most widely used and visible makers right now are square with a black and white pattern, much like a barcode (see here). But wait! They are now able to turn any JPEG into a marker! So you now can potentially have any front of a magazine or a CD cover or any picture you take as a marker. Now a building’s facade, a section of sidewalk or even that silly face only you can make can all be markers.
So what are we doing next with VPAP? We are talking with Stephen Beveridge’s second life project into a real world space. This will include audio – Field of Voices
Also VPAP just launched our third exhibit: Cargo
We took part in Augmented Reality Event2010 (Santa Clara, CA) as and art installation: ARE2010
Here are some screenshots of VPAP in action!
Some other examples of interesting work includes the following links: