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KRYB / CREEPS : Augmented reality

Daniel Skaale and Kassandra Wellendorf

KRYB / CREEPS : Augmented reality

by Asta Gylfadottir last modified Aug 30, 2013 01:23 PM
To learn a little bit more about the process of the project KRYB / CREEPS we had an interesting email conversation with Kassandra Wellendorf, which will serve as the basis for weekly blog posts until the exhibition opens, where we will address different issues such as the potentials of Augmented Reality (AR), Art for children, and the iPad as platform for play and learning.

As was mentioned a few weeks ago, Kassandra’s and Daniel’s application utilizes augmented reality to create the effect of unveiling unexpected things in our immediate surrounding, by adding to it a layer of fantasy by way of the screen. Kassandra points out that the potential of using Augmented Reality in art is that AR expands the experience of the representation of reality in front of you by allowing you to see two visual layers simultaneously, the physical and the digital. She claims that for her there is a great potential in experimenting with alternative interpretations of the immediate photographic representation in front of you: ”To be able to see the surface, and at the same time to be presented with a representation of the underlying hidden layer to the physical reality.”

 

In KRYB / CREEPS they utilize a technically simple version of visualizing a fantasy layer: What lies hidden under the pavement at our feet? Are there secret creatures in the cloak? But Kassandra finds the potential in using the AR concept more radically, as a tool to deconstruct our perception of the visual reality that surrounds us. To add some kind of subtexts to the visual reality, which reveal and uncover invisible strategies, stories and themes not accessible to the naked eye but always intertwined with architecture, buildings, advertising billboards and, in effect, every visual interface around us.

Back in 2006 Kassandre participated in creating the interactive cd-rom Wallflower – find your party with Niels Bonde, Frans Jacobi, Søren Ole Christensen, Jakob Allgreen-Ussing og T.S. Høeg. In that project they worked with representations of a room under constant change. She explains that the story (or anti-story) was that the user was stranded outside a party, that he or she were trying to gatecrash. But instead of allowing the user to enter the party, the entré would continue to change its character. From suddenly being filled with philosophical and phenomenological words, to a totally black room with only sounds, or a room with semi-abstract close images. At some point the room is completely void, but by touching the walls small video loops appear showing actions that have happened in the same room.

She claims that for her there is a great potential in experimenting with alternative interpretations of the immediate photographic representation in front of you: ”To be able to see the surface, and at the same time to be presented with a representation of the underlying hidden layer to the physical reality.”

Kassandra claims that she would be interested in further developing this idea into an artwork, where the reality you see through your camera changes representations, constantly displaying alternative versions and interpretations of the visible world.

She also raises an interesting point on how ideas on reality not being what it seems, have become popular in contemporary digital culture. She takes Matrix-trilogy as a good example of a visualization of ourselves moving around in a constructed visual interface, that conceals the physical reality from us. She also makes references to Stanislav Lem who wrote about such a universe in the short story Future’s congress (Fremtidskongressen, Tiderne Skifter, 1985 [1971]). She continues: ”One could say that AR has given us new tools to create and interpret this paradox in new artistic forms. It would be a necessary and much needed alternative to the more commercial application of AR. Instead of encouraging us to show more, I hope, that AR can often expand the understanding and reflexion of the physical visual reality around us.”

Balance between the concept and technological experiments


Kassandra and Daniel had worked with AR in the intermedia artproject Inside Out 2400 (http://www.insideout2400.dk/AR.html). In that project, they worked with geotagged positions, where by looking at the wall of a house the user could see images and hear sounds as if they were listening in on the neighbours behind the walls. The initial idea for KRYB / CREEPS was to continue with that concept, creating the illusion of seeing through the wall, but eventually it developed into working with image recognition, where drains would open up to present the audience with a secret world beneath our feet in KRYB / CREEPS. She explains how it has been a lengthy process to develop the image recognition so that it will work both with physical objects and prints, and that it is still not completely finished. Since the technology is so sensitive, it would not work if it rains or there are leaves covering the drain. Their current solution was placing small white dots on the drain, stabilising the image recognition for the camera. They have also designed printable drains, so that users can print out from home and play with the application anywhere. They admit that working with tuning a concept with such a new technology takes a lot of time and patience, to the point where Kassandra feels that she is developing a love/hate relationship with the technology, due to the amount of compromises they have had to make. The application of the technology requires constant experimentation and balance between a creative idea and what is is realistic.

 

The project is created in Unity, and Kassandra claims that the advantage of Unity is that it integrates many different functions and can interact with many different programs. It also both supports IOS and Android platforms. But that one should know basic programming to be able to work with Unity. Without basic programming experience, she recommends using existing AR applications and adapting your concept to existing templates. That way one can familiarize and play with the possibilities and limitations of Augmented Reality before diving into programming your own project.

 

 

More information about Kassandra

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