augmented reality

layar logoAn intimate and almost seamless experience, layar seduces the user to engage and share, daring to tell all. Most obvious filters for immediate consumption were twitter and instagram <pic>, which allowed the hybridisation of space, conflating the mediated image with an augmented reality (AR) of geolocated tweets and personal images. The local nature of the media presented an allure that made the experience almost personal, as users revealed their thoughts and their postcode. Wikitude required more customisation with tripadvisor posts superimposed over a shopping mall which made the screen real estate of a smartphone almost redundant (see net .locality). Both AR applications suffered from erratic movement and a vagueness in direction as the mobile phone screen moved in a “chaos of data” (Karppi, 2011). Both offered more educational and cultural filters but suffered from a lack of social content, held hostage to the commercial nature of the medium.

layar _instagram2layar _instagram3

More commercial applications are suggested by Drakopoulou in her paper on the intersection between informational and urban space, including heads up displays (HUD) for cars (BMW, 2011) or peripheral vision displays (PVD), like google glass. Both move away from the handheld smartphone to an experience that is wearable and more immediate (further removed from holding a physical object), enabling a more vicarious immersion in “a redefined urban environment that is techno-synthetically composed.” (Drakopolou, 2013).

no google glass 2Both technologies have the potential to infringe upon civil liberties with a data trail users will inevitably leave. Google glass is already proving controversial with businesses banning “glassholes” (Casey, 2013). The Mail online (Prigg and Thornhill, 2014) suggested that facial recognition apps have the potential to scan a room matching networked images (including sexual offenders), either for more efficient political campaigning or lonely hearts. Google are confident that “behaviours and social norms will develop over time.” (Casey, 2013).

The rapid development in computer generated imagery (CGI) in cinema, video and gaming and by extension AR, is moving ever closer to reality, blurring the lines of distinction and removing the divide of the screen. As eyesight and peripheral vision become fully integrated into a commercial space, the technology must be held accountable to avoid the mediation and manipulation of reality, driven by a market driven ideology.

“Rather than enriching places with electronic information, these new augmented reality applications do little to enrich but they rather visualise the hybridisation of space, of the urban environment, by visualising the commodification of all spaces, both mental and physical.” (Drakapolou, 2013).




DRAKOPOULOU, S., (2013). Pixels, bits and urban space: Observing the intersection of the space of information with urban space in augmented reality smartphone applications and peripheral vision displays. First Monday, 18(11). <Available at: article/view/4965>  [Accessed 17mar2014].

KARPPI, T. (2011) Reality Bites: Subjects of Augmented Reality Applications. In Unfolding Media Studies, eds. Puro, J. and Sihvonen, J. Turku: University of Turku: 89-102

NEWTON, Casey (2013). Seattle dive bar becomes first to ban Google Glass. (Last updated 9 March 2013 5:12 PM GMT). Available at: <> [Accessed on 17mar2014]

PRIGG, Mark and THORNHILL, Ted (2014). Could Google Glass find your dream date? (Last updated 07feb2014: 20:00). Available at: <> [Accessed on 17mar2014]


BMW, 2011



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