ITP blog ยท content-and-its-discontents

Week 7 AR study (final project)

22 October 2018

Final Project

Performance instructions here.

Presentation slides viewable here.


I spent this course exploring AR as a medium seriously for the first time, but largely limiting myself to the container of Weird Type. WT was created as a tool for fun creative exploration and, through using it, I too became interested in the idea of creating such a tool.

At first, I used WT to create abstract visual art, in the vein of some of my own early abstract photography. I kept things abstract by staying away from standard textual representations in my imagery and instead focusing on shapes and symbols. These were fun, but ultimately I had to confront questions around medium specificity in AR. If the videos I was producing could have easily been made using motion graphics software like After Effects, then what was the point of going through the exercise of using Weird Type?

At Sarah's suggestion, I started to read about early conceptual art. I was particularly intrigued by Yoko Ono's Grapefruit and I realized I could make something similar, specifically focused on the WT container. In the examples of WT "art" I had seen in the wild, I saw a lot of the same simple effects over and over. Of course there are exceptions, but I felt like people had mainly just dipped their toes into the app and not really discovered all its potential artistic & poetic uses. This interactive performance work hopes to provide a starting point for less conventional exploration in AR, and I hope for participants to appreciate its implications outside of the WT container.

I think that the final form of this project utilizes the affordances of AR much better than a video recording of abstract art produced with WT. It allows participants to experience the physicality of the medium and also keeps in the ephemeral spirit of WT, where you cannot save & recall AR scenes.

Future directions

I got some great feedback during the final class critique, especially around the social aspects of some of the performance pieces. I've love to make a lot more (up to 100?) pieces in this series and release it to the broader world of Weird Type fans. They could be broken up into categories based on the number of participants involved (alone, with a partner, or with a group), where & when they can take place, and the kinds of additional props or materials requried. I plan to use the results of what people share about their experience performing the pieces (either a video recording of the event or written feedback) to create my own AR application which better supports the kind of creative play I suggest in this work.