1) Collective Exhibition Prospectus (V3c):
Updated: 9/19/12 WP
Invisible ARtaffects – the real is affected by the virtual and the affects of the audience affect the world
Manifest.AR Exhibition for INSIDE OUT:
In the upcoming FACT exhibition INSIDE OUT, the artist collective, Manifest.AR, presents eight artworks responding to this suggestion of inversion in the institution and the body, by connecting its exterior virtual public art practices to the intimate realms of bio-sensing. The vital signs of the brain and body are projected into the city while the city that surrounds FACT constitutes and effects the works inside. Augmented reality, a medium which itself suggests inversion and knows no physical boundaries, renders the institution permeable, spatially and symbolically. The categories of body-mind, the institution-city, and the virtual-physical are crisscrossed and reconfigured. FACT is revised as a laboratory medium for experiments in mind, matter and community. The nascent public form of augmented reality, which Manifest.AR employs in this exhibition, is too primitive and to perform a utopian abstraction of modernism. Rather it is used conceptually, as an interstitial universe, to break down systemic lines. If it predicts an idealized future, it does so in combination with the problematic present. Manifest.AR’s original proposal summary, “the affects of the audience affect the world,” is as much about the power of the nervous system as it is about systems that are nervous about a virtually infused world.
Manifest.AR and Public New Media Art Practice
Manifest.AR’s art practice is always relative to site; site as social space; site as architectural sign; site as political event; site as community memory; site as picturesque landscape; site as global issue. Site also represents the constraints of present, the undercurrents of the past and possibility of the future. The public square, as an ongoing historic locus for these levels of interpretation and dialogue is therefore often a model and a desired location. The group uses augmented reality, as a means to take an “inside” computer-based practice to the outside public sphere. GPS, as a growing system for linking digital and networked media and communications to a physically mapped world, forms an invisible space that locates Manifest.AR’s works at a given site. Their artistic production is an importantly and uniquely an “outside” practice, as installation of virtual objects on-site often literally takes many hours outdoors.
In one sense Manifest.AR’s art practice could be understood as sculptural, creating virtual objects for physical space. However, the works often arise from or call for participation. Frequently, their incongruence or impossibility invites reaction and commentary. They are more akin to virtual social sculptures which are meant to set relationships in motion. Intervention, in its widest sense, forms the favored activity of this relationship. The very notion of intervention depends on the presence of institutional, social or property based boundaries. There is an inside and outside both physically and symbolically. The current state of unrestricted GPS augmented reality space, prevents the maintenance of interior restrictions and establishes an infinitely permeable virtual space. Thus, as in the Internet at large, new virtual AR space calls for a certain leveling, a challenge, an exposure to the symbolic control of physical space.
The Manifest.AR response, it’s formative research and production, is inevitably diverse. Though members of the group often collaborate, it’s primary mode of operation is as a collective. These modes of creative practice are important to the prospects for the invention of new artistic forms in the 21st century, but are particularly potent for those that aspire to function globally. In most cases Manifest.AR assembles as a group to produce work for a specific context, location at or around a specific topic. This leads to a multivalent and centripetal interpretation of location and context that is often conceptually and visually divergent. In a sense this mirrors the multi-tracked decentered mind of the Internet that creates a field of associations rather than a thematic construct.
For INSIDE OUT, Manifest.AR aptly brings this very exterior practice to the exhibition with works generated from and for the outside public space, as well as works generated from the inside of the body-mind. Both sources and directions manifest and multiply virtual artworks across the physical walls of FACT. The artworks are formed by Liverpool’s public issues, its memory and history as much as they tap very personal psychophysiologies to propagate virtual objects onto Liverpool’s city streets. Hovering memory objects, mutating forestry, building sized drawing lines, future forced labor artifacts, towering skyscrapers, attention agitators, gestural skywriting, poor into, out and on top of FACT. The works are precipitated through activities and interactions during public visitation, public outreach and engagement, and attendant conference events. The results of this generative mixture populate the continuum of the building and the surrounding city; there is no virtual boundary.
In this exhibition Manifest.AR has worked closely with the Physiological computing group from the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University to connect psychophysiological monitoring to augmented reality. Psychophysiology is concerned with inferring psychological activity through the measurement of electrical activity in the body and the brain. What about the human state of mind, can be detected from the electrical activity of cortex and beating heart? In this exhibition, Manifest.AR takes up this dynamic of human interiority and exteriority, and links it, via new frontiers of physiological computing to augmented reality. Thus the group introduces a psychophysiological influence on the virtual, where augmented reality plays the role of external materialization. “I think, I feel- therefore it is.”
This collaboration results from a commission awarded to Manifest.AR from the European consortium, ARtSense, a group of companies and institutions interested in developing adaptive and intelligent technologies for museums that might enhance and expand visitor experience. The Physiological computing lab at Liverpool John Moores University plays an important role in the development of demonstrator systems which will bring these new technologies into play. Augmented reality is one of the areas particularly identified by ARtSense as a medium which they would like to explore. Manifest.AR engages these scientific and pragmatic interests in a more conjectural, playful and even critical approach. In particular, the group poses the expansion of the museum via augmented reality in a reverberating link of the personal adaptive affects to the larger public space outside.
Scope of Artworks
For this exhibition, Manifest.AR proposes eight participatory performance and installation projects that utilize adaptive technologies in combination with augmented reality. Six include bio-sensing, one involves personal information gathering, and one, the “mARp,” represents a kind of aggregate visual mapping of the multiple mediums involved in the preceding works. The works address these technologies by engaging them in a set of very human and socially poignant contexts such as forestation as ecosystem in peril, memory mapping as brain materialization, Rorschach testing as virtual response, skywriting as accessible drawing, museum as investment skyscraper, human conference sensors and the future of slave labor.
The works rely on audience participation ranging from one-user interactions to group practices, from public interviews to games. The artwork and activities, accessible through interactive mobile devices, can be encountered inside FACT equally as well as outside the city at large. The technological requirements for “seeing” the work are minimal, consisting of one or two publicly available applications covering both iPhone and Android operating systems. However, the artists also plan physical iterations or stages for their work throughout FACT and Gallery 2 to draw in audiences that might hesitate to try augmented reality as an unknown technology. The physical iterations of the projects, ranging from a dramatic proposal to cover FACTs transit floors with soil and plant growth, to a row boat hanging from the ceiling, to installations of specific domestic and clinical room design, to drawing, prints and video also connect the virtual artworks to their “real world” counterparts. These materials, objects and environs also blur the line between the physical and the virtual, opening up notions of these two supposedly contrasting categories.
Ground and 1st Floor Public Areas and Outside Spaces
While almost all the artworks have components in the public and transit areas of FACT’s ground and 1st floors, four projects are fully located interfacing these areas; Biomer Skelters, FACT Towers, the meta mARp and Human Conference Sensors. Biomer Skelters, as an invasive plant species propagator, would have its main exhibition media on the wall just outside Gallery 2, but installation materials including soil in plants would lead into FACT from open Rope Walk Square cover most of the for floor space on the ground floor and then lead up the stairs to the 1st floor area outside the bar. The interest in this overwhelming presence, not only for this specific project, would be to form a kind of pervasive physical and aromatic presence as the “ground” or seedbed of the virtual propagation throughout the exhibition. FACT Towers would be presented to incoming visitors at the entrance of the museum as a kind of grand scale donation and real estate project. A large banner on the multistory wall to the left would form the physical/visual architectural concept and text invitation as well as a small-scale model sculpture growing with the progress of the project. The meta mARp would be a large-scale interactive computer projection of Google mash up visualizations of the changing status of each and all the projects. Human Conference Sensors is primarily a performance project to be integrated into the conference schedule planned for the Black Box Theater. In addition, to enhance the visceral aspects of Bio sensing, Manifest.AR envisions a number of audio systems that would respondent and play various body sounds such as heartbeat, breathing, blood flow, etc. Sound systems would be planned for some of the large transit areas but also targeted for unusual locations such as bathrooms, halls and the stairway.
Manifest.AR would like to also use the front multistory FACT iconic LED screen to project live and recorded vital signs from the Gallery 2 laboratory area as bar or line graphs. Video projections in Rope Walk Square would also be used to project rotating video footage of all the projects and their documentary footage.
Gallery 2- Laboratory
The remaining four of Manifest.AR’s bio sensing projects for this exhibition, Things We Have Lost, FACT Sky Museum, I Must Be Seeing THINGS and The Hunted Slave (project title in transition) will be situated in Gallery 2. This space is designed and functions as a suggestive experimental laboratory interior emblematic of the real world context for the bio sensing scientific discipline. Its architectural design and individual room layouts reflect each artist’s topical contexts as if they were a series of psychophysiological experiences tested in a laboratory or perhaps in a surreal dreamlike encounter sequence. However, though framed within the Gallery 2 laboratory context, some of the individual projects and rooms evoke a outside world environments and activities that might not necessarily be scientific. The laboratory metaphor, with its waiting room and the individual experiences of each semi-isolated bio sensing room, functions both practically and evocatively as a probing into the interior vicissitudes of memory, judgment, association, expression and anxiety measured as exterior body signs. Manifest.AR employs this context cautiously, fancifully, critically and generatively. The monitoring and measurement of body signs in Manifest.AR’s laboratory is used to project and instantiate augmented reality objects that suggest both a creative use of these technologies as well as the questionable undercurrents of surveillance. With both possibilities of these artistic experiments at play, augmented reality attached and emanating from the body sign, a cyborg relationship no doubt, functions as the possibility of virtual materialization or externalization of the even more elusive interior of the human psyche. The inside is out.
written by Will Pappenheimer for the collective of five Manifest.AR artists
edited by Steve Faircough, LJMU
Notes: To Do/Add:
Notes: To Do/Add:
Entry Common “periscope” description
EEG AR: Things We Have Lost, John Craig Freeman and Scott Kildall
“EEG AR: Things We Have Lost,” by John Craig Freeman and Scott Kildall, will allow participants to conjure up virtual objects by simply imagining them into existence using brainwave sensor technology. We will generate a database of objects based on the broad theme of “Things We Have Lost,” which includes things such as pensions, empires and dodo birds. We will outfit test subjects with EEG-reading brainwave sensors and ask them to think deeply about what he or she has lost. Once our software detects a measurable and consistent pattern, it will issue a database call to instantiate a virtual object using augmented reality technology. The virtual object will then appear in front of the participant, viewable on any iPhone or Android device. As part of the exhibition, we will take the test subjects into the city to see if it is possible to create and place virtual objects just by thinking them into existence. These virtual objects will remain at the location as trace reminders of the lab experience. Project Site, FACT Development
FACT Sky Museum Will Pappenheimer
FACT has claimed a large portion of the sky above the museum’s building and the surrounding Liverpool area for a new FACT Sky Museum. Participants are invited to come to the museum to make and contribute works in augmented reality sky writing or drawing. The process for creating a work can be understood as Bio-Expressionism. It engages contemporary versions of two important principles of Expressionism; gesture and emotion. Participants use hand movements to track a monitor drawing projected on a ceiling space above them. As they do this, a galvant skin response (GSR) sensor (or heart rate sensor) will record changes in their level of excitement which will result in changes to the thickness of their drawing trail. On screen above, the line drawing will appear as a trail of airplane exhaust against a background of a live feed of the sky above FACT.
After the participant is finished and satisfied with the drawing it will be uploaded as an augmented reality airplane trail drawing to the virtual sky above the FACT building. Sky drawings will appear all over the sky above FACT. When the sky fills up with participant drawings, periodically, the FACT director and curators will look at the drawings and decide which ones can be “discarded.” It becomes a question of the limitations of the voluminous economy of open source production and participation. Works to be removed are retired to a “trash area” on the open plaza in back of FACT. Here they are stacked above a real marked and QR coded dumpster placed in the center of the plaza. The VR stack of these large sky drawings becomes as aesthetically interesting as this Sky Museum above. Participants will be of informed of this process and invited to come back and submit more drawings.
FACT TOWERS Thanks You For your Time Will Pappenheimer
YOU ARE A VISITING PART OF FACT. YOU MAKE IT WHAT IT IS. YOUR TIME HERE IS VALUABLE. BUT IT IS ALSO RISKY. YOU BECOME VERY WEALTHY BECAUSE YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE AND YOU TAKE RISKS. YOU WANT TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO A PIONEERING INSTITUTION. YOU WANT HIGH PROFILE REAL ESTATE TO BE REMEMBERED. SO YOU USE YOUR TIME IS MONEY TO BUILD ANOTHER FLOOR IN FACT TOWERS AND PUT IT IN YOUR NAME. IF, OVER TIME, DONATED FLOORS TO THE FIRST TOWER MAKE IT TOO TALL, AND THE AIR IS TOO THIN, YOU BUY THE BUILDING OR PLOT NEXT DOOR. THEN YOU START TOWER #2.
As visitors arrive at FACT, their visit becomes a high level sponsorship of the institution. Their participation and risk in this visit makes them wealthy, and so they are invited by a large wall text and an unusually dressed performing entrance attendant to donate their valuable visitation time as funding for an additional augmented reality floor on the existing FACT building. At a computer screen near the entrance they can enter a floor dedication name, an overall use and a plan for their designated floor. The application process will then add an augmented reality floor stacked up on top of the existing building. As the tower grows through multiple contributions, anyone can see it using a smart phone or mobile computing pad from outside the building or from up to three miles away in the surrounding city. There will also be a small scale model near the entrance that will have modular floors added to it. The tower’s grand first floor interior will be visible from the inside on the top floor or rooftop of the museum. As accumulating floors for the first tower reach about 800 meters or 1800 feet, the next contributing visitor will buy an adjacent plot of land and begin building tower #2. More towers will be added as needed for the duration of the exhibition. An online website will display the buildings’ expansions and floor-by-floor donor information.
‘I Must Be Seeing THINGS presentation’ By John Cleater Feb 2012
Updated: FACT Development page updated, July 26, 2012
‘I Must Be Seeing THINGS’ is an Augmented Reality experience that ‘tests’ users engagement with abstract imagery by asking users what they are seeing, thinking, hearing and encouraging users to free associate images, sounds, and narrative.
Resources: The Rorschach Test, The Psychedelic Experience (LSD), Max Ernst’s illustrated book ‘The Hundred Headless Woman (La Femme 100 Tete)’, graffiti and tattoo art.
I imagine at least 3 ways of seeing THINGS @ FACT.
1. ArtSense: In a controlled environment at FACT, visitors don the biosensing apparatus and look through the printed THINGS catalog, attempting to make sense of the images and jotting down notes/their thoughts on the adjacent page. Concurrently, as the viewer’s senses are monitored and recorded, numerical figures and associated images are displayed on a nearby screen. These reflect the viewer’s ‘score’ or level of engagement, which measures the challenges encountered in deciphering the drawing (i.e., * a ‘beginner’ score of 33/100 might display a lobster and an ‘expert’ score of 69/100 might display a crustacean morphed into an ice skating in-patient).
2. Public AR viewing in and around FACT: Once viewers have familiarized themselves with the THINGS drawings displayed on the ‘Reading Room’ walls in gallery 2, and/or by looking through the printed THINGS catalog, they may choose favorite drawings to enter into by way of Layar (on their smart phones). Viewers gain access to each drawing’s AR environment by scanning the drawing or its associated stamped icon. As they would a bird watching field guide, viewers carry the catalog with them. It will serve as a portal through which viewers can enter into the drawings in environments of their choosing (via AR), whether at FACT or beyond. Viewers can also keep an eye out for stamped THINGS icons to scan; these may be located on walls or bodies inside and outside of FACT. Also available will be a ‘Periscope’ THINGS viewing station at the top of the stairs looking down into the public space where one will see THINGS mapped on the curved walls before them. There will be a large THINGS wall marker; a vinyl adhesive located at first landing headed up public stairs which will be cueing the periscope viewer.
3. Community pARticipation: Tattoo and graffiti enthusiasts may borrow or purchase rubber stamps and temporary tattoos at FACT to spread their favARite THING by stamping it in locations where they would like others to see THINGS as they saw them. I am keen on tapping into the local graffiti and tattoo community by encouraging tagging on existing graffiti hotspots or people’s bodies in Liverpool. Other locations for stamping could include bathroom stalls, a tree, a friend’s back door or face. (See example below)
It’s not about what you think you see as much as it is about what you are looking at.
mARp – AR as a communication and messaging medium.
By Tamiko Thiel
Proposal for a large public view mARp
“mARp” is a word I invented from “map with AR” – augmented reality cartography. It is a general interface for browsing and viewing city-wide collections of augments on an interactive map. It codifies existing Manifest.AR practice for depicting collections of augments spread throughout a city by marking their locations with icons on a googlemap.
- This proposal would extend the concept to become a comprehensive interface for viewing augments and their documentation both while at FACT and at sites around the city, and for visitors to add text commentary to the documentation while using the mARp at FACT.
- The mARp concept provides a conceptual framework for FACT staff to work with community groups to collectively augment the city, thus“crowd-sourcing” stories related to particular topics of interest. These could be for instance walking tours relating to different historical communities in Liverpool (the first Irish Potatoe Famine immigrants, the descendents of the slave trade, the Chinese community, personal histories of individuals etc.).
- There would be mARps for various levels of content. The LiverpoolMeta-mARp would have all augments throughout the city. Visitors could go for instance to a specific square in the city and view all the augments located at this one site. A mARp of a specific project would show a modified map with only the augments from the project. For projects with a narrative structure or for instance a city tour, a route could indicate the order in which augments should be viewed.
- A desired technical development would give participants the ability toadd their own augmented reality content and documentation on siteusing smartphones in locations around Liverpool.
The Hunted Slave – Mark Skwarek
The Hunted Slaves Richard Ansdell, 1861
I am making contemporary version of the painting “The Hunted Slaves” by Richard Ansdell, 1861. My work will be the experience of the modern day hunted slave. The original painting must have struck terror and great sorrow in many viewers. It did this with the most immersive experience technology could provide. I will do the same with present day technologies. At the time of the original work, painting was one of the most immersive tools at the artist’s disposal. I want to create a work with that type of impact- 2d images no longer create the shock or immersion that it used to due to viewers prolonged exposure to the rich media. The present day rework will use bio-feed back with augmented reality to control the viewer’s experience.The overall goal of the project is to create a simulation of what a modern day slave might experience, using augmented reality and bio sensing the project will create a sense of terror and fear in the user. It is important to note the project will only be a simulation and can never come close to recreating the actual experience of slavery.
“Human Conference Sensors” Sander Veenhof
A conference is a very efficient format to distribute a lot of knowledge to a lot of people. But that efficiency goes down when the concentration of the audience starts fading away. Either because of a specific topic, the specific presenter or just general fatigue. These days, we don’t have to sit still and see this situation as a fact. With augmented reality, we are able to shape and adapt our new hybrid reality world in the way we want it, and this applies to conferences too. The “Human Conference Sensor” is aiming to bring the efficiency of a conference back to an optimal level. In order to detect a moment of fading concentration or even daydreaming, two people attending a conference will be equiped with body activity sensors. Their concentration and partcipation level is monitored. When a drop in concentration is noticed, for example a heartbeat that is too low, a compensation for a probable lack of exciting content will be activated in augmented reality inside the conference room. The concentration of the dozing human conference sensors and all the other conference attendees will be brought back to an acceptable level with the appearance of additional content, viewable with an AR device. A phone, a tablet, but in the near future, a goggles-like device. So, the presentation content might be augmented, the person presenting might be augmented or the whole space will be filled with oddities, whatever is needed to waking up the room of attendees.
Performance: The two human sensors will be looking normal from the front. When looking at themselves, they feel completely normal. They will act completely normal. They will attend the conference, and dream away just like any regular conference goer. But from the backside, they carry a design that functions as an eyecatching trigger for the AR space around them. Other people in the room can scan the code, and immerse in the augmented presentation situation.
Biomer Skelters Tamiko Thiel and Will Pappenheimer
Biomer Skelters (“biome” + “helter-skelter“) is a personal wild growth forest-to-rainforest AR ecosystem propagator designed initially for the Liverpool area. The system is designed to speed up the process of reforestation in the County of Merseyside, turning participants into “Biomer Skelters*” as they start to spread vegetation in their wake. Increased propagation causes increased helter-skelter and dense plant growth. Cultivating virtual plant life is driven by a range of individual participant states and activities indicated by bio sensing and volition. The overall artwork in process seeks to completely cover the Liverpool area with forest biomes.
Through a number of its interrelated parts as AR performance and physical installation, this project reflects societal interests and concerns involving plant-based ecosystems, from urban reforestation and farming to oncoming ecological diversity and disturbance attributed to global warming. Questions circulate throughout this artwork about what in the world of vegetation is considered to be natural, local, practical, and controlled versus foreign, invasive, mutated or chaotic. Liverpool, both past and present, has a vibrant interest in botany and horticulture. The city’s extensive worldwide shipping history spawned extensive botanical and tree collections, while recent resurgences of alternative farm production and state-supported forestation suggests the return to localized food production and an abiding interest in city greening. Imagery and events related to this background informs the content and activities of this artwork.