Digital Arts and Culture 2009
Augmented Reality Art: A Matter of (non)Destination
- Author(s): Ross, Christine
- et al.
This paper examines the ambivalence of “destination”—namely the ambivalence of the user’s interpellation—as one of the key features of augmented reality (AR) art. It calls attention to the special status of the spectator whose participation is at once a requirement and an uncertainty, a prediction and an anxiety, a principle of localization and a questioning of the very capacity to localize. This ambivalence is endemic to AR environments which rely on mobile, networking, tracking, sensing and detection technologies. My main claim is that, as a perceptual paradigm, AR’s potential innovativeness lies in its ability to generate new ways of perceiving for the spectator or to disclose what was previously unperceived—unseen, unheard, unfelt. These ways of perceiving are structurally rooted in the ambivalence of destination. This structuring feature, however, is recurrently sidestepped by the interactive setting of AR art. Required to interact; destined to act specifically and to insert him or herself in a standardizing logic of community formation; allegedly “in direct contact” with the immediate environment despite extreme mediation: the spectator turned user, YOUuser or interactor is solicited as a destinataire (a recipient) in ways that most often counter the possibilities of AR as an ambivalent mode of destination. The paper investigates three AR environments by artists Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Mathieu Briand, and Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau to show how these traits either counter or favour the perceptual potential of AR.