Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eurosceptic zombies attack!

Best party conference stunt which wasn't ours - "Euro zombies attack at Conservative Party conference. Conservative Way Forward surprises everyone with a campaign against unaffordable bail-outs to the eurozone [and hence "zombie"] economies"

As you can see, all efforts to turn undead proved fruitless. But then we know from experience that free marketeers are resistant to turning. 

You can also see some bees buzzing around in the background from us on the clip.

Why I like it? It was spectacular; geeky; fun; totally overshadowing anything else that was going on; it was videoed for easy dissemination; it demonstrated the power of theatre; it got an issue on the agenda for Conference delegates.

Questions: Whether it actually changed anyone's mind, and whether it was a bit too outre for your typical Conservative delegate? 

Geek criticism: strictly speaking the walking dead should have been demanding brains, not shrieking. 

What if this were real? David "two brains" Willetts would be a man in zombie demand. Chris "armed response" Grayling would be practicing his head-shots. The Umbrella Corporation would be sponsoring fringe events at Tory Party Conference.

But I think we can safely assume that no right-thinking, home-is-my-castle Conservative wants zombies on their lawn. The mad gardening skills of Middle England would see 'em off.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Augmented reality videos and notes

"Sight" – short film by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo

As good a fictional illustration of far-flung augmented reality as any - the supplementing of what you see by data or visual effect and the potential for the 'gamification' of everyday life. Their take on the 'creep' factor of AR is less about the potential for the de facto alteration of reality, more the availability of your personal information to other individuals (although presumably we'd get a lot more sophisticated about privacy too)

And here's a 3D public digital sculpture tour in Brighton using AR


 ...and something similar with a dinosaur exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada

Digital street art: Interesting less for the practice (woo! we can virtually doodle on buildings! thank you vodka corporation!) and more for the principle of decoration/transformation of the real.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A writing idea - Thresholds

One of the standout points from the Doctorow/Stross collaboration Rapture of the Nerds is that the Internet, and therefore the post-singularity Cloud, is not an aesthetically pleasing place to be.

Think about it - what proportion of websites are genuinely well designed, let alone works of art? Think of the distractions of adverts, pop ups, animations? Have MMORPG's, or Second Life, contributed any more than beautifully drawn kitsch?

Augmented reality - adding visuals (but also data and sound) through a phone, tablet, or some time soon just glasses - provides more artistically interesting possibilities.

While at the moment, the augmented reality (AR) industry seem to be talking about everyday overlays, displaying useful data when you need it, its the artistic applications that leap out at me.

What if you could create a space (or spaces) which were a combination of AR, real-life art installation and performance space? The vision of one or more collaborators? Artists, programmers, dramaturges, pyschologists all coming together to create a space which offered a singular vision or cracked mirror to supplement or ... perhaps ultimately replace 'real' life?

The visions of the interwar surrealism made a reality? Life as cabaret? Quasi deranged theme-parking? Perhaps.

Link it to gaming (whether MMO or LARP) and you have the potential for a second tier of collaboration through alternative personae. Living the steampunk dream 24-7, anyone?

At the moment I'm calling these spaces 'thresholds', as the participant passes from a subliminal space (beyond the point at which all these AR cues are invisible) into a superliminal space where the imaginary is manifest.

Will I get any writing out of this? Will it do for my NaNoWriMo attempt? Only one way to find out...