@ISMAR in Atlanta

I am back in Atlanta for the ISMAR (IEEE International Symposium on Augmented and Mixed Reality) 2012. With other researchers from the Augmented Environments Lab (Jay David Bolter, Evan Barba, Rebecca Rouse and Isaac Kulka) I organized a tutorial on panoramas on Monday. Today, we had a demo in the lab space and showed our cultural heritage work with Argon, and tomorrow I participate in a panel with Helen Papagiannis, Mark Billinghurst and Jay Bolter discussing the question of AR and aesthetics. My comments will center around a theme that Jay, Blair MacIntyre and I are also exploring in a coming ACM Interactions cover article on AR and panoramas, namely the idea of multiple aesthetic, artistic, and cultural influences on AR, rather than a belief that we need to articulate the medium (any medium’s) essential properties. Certainly, there are properties of AR that characterize the medium, but already the various AR applications, mobile phone apps, browsers, projects and works are so varied and heterogeneous that I struggle to find any other common features than those of digital media and location. Instead of suggesting a media-specific driven design process, I hope to convince the audience that we should explore the consistently evolving and expanding relationship between the medium (the technology), cultural & historical contexts, and the user and her sensory, intellectual and emotional/affective perception/reception/living in the world. (Yes, basically what I call polyaesthetics). Most importantly, it is challenging, fun, and, really, imperative to have this conversation with people (computer scientists mainly) that create and design the technologies. A busy few days here in Atlanta at ISMAR…

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