Keiichi Matsuda, a student at the Bartlett School of Architecture, produced this short video in the final year of his M.Arch. It was, he writes, “part of a larger project about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.”
The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.
The bewildering groundlessness of surfaces within surfaces is beautifully captured by this video, and its portrayal of drop-down menus and the future hand gestures needed to access them is also pretty great. Augmented-reality drop-down menus are the Gothic ornamentation of tomorrow.
Now how do we use all that home-jamming ad space for something other than Coke and Tesco? What other subscription-content feeds can be plugged into this vertiginous interface?
Take a look—and you can find more thoughts, and another video, on Matsuda’s own blog.
(Thanks to Nic Clear for the tip!)
9 thoughts on “Homefront Dissolve”
Great video, full of interesting ideas.
The ideas have been their long enough, but it is nice to see them shown in something other than large scale Hollywood movies (ala Minority Report) so we can truly assess its potential without having to over dramatise the effects.
Very interesting insights… It is great to see how architecture merges with new media forms… However it looks frightening at the same time to see how architecture can become only a surface for the advertisement industry… A need to balance various values appears gratefully…
The video shows talent at graphically portraying an AR pushed to dramatic extremes. It's visually stunning…and quite horrifying. I hope this video is a satirical critique of what AR may turn in to, and NOT a hopeful "what-if" wish-list for AR.
It portrays everything I DON'T want in AR: the surfaces of your home furnishings smothered in auto-adverts and media. The only method of controlling their volume/frequency is monetary payment. Do we already do this to some degree? Yes. Should we just accept that it will get worse, restrained by our digital wallet? No.
The film's character relies upon vocalized instructions to make a cup of tea, while lines and arrows direct him/her to the ingredients sitting nearby. The following sequence suggests he/she appears incapable of doing anything on their own without the help of visual aids, pop-up windows, and vocal commands for very simple tasks. Meanwhile, they can tap into a larger world of contacts and messages? So we'll be able to process that data but unable to make a cup of tea?
As a critique/parody of the future and perhaps as a warning…the video is brilliant. I would love to see this person push their study beyond a critique and develop a counterpoint video imagining an evolved AR with more constructive applications. Where is the "architecture" of this research that would improve and enhance the human condition? There's a hint of it when the character went "online" but it's almost lost between the absurdity of being complimented by the AR for placing a teabag in a cup and then having the container of milk highlighted for you, just in case you no longer recognized milk.
The sad part of this video is that many young people do not recognize the pervasive and destructive influence of continuous advertising of products nobody knows their actual value or danger. Corporate advertising has become a monster without a leash and it do not belong in an Arquitectural design.
Great video!! I just started following this blog and it is great!
Gee folks-you've got to learn not to take futurists, or artists/architects, totally literally.
This future already exists–at the high end. It'll take a while for it to reach student apartments!
You wouldn't need to have _any_ of the functionalities visible until you wanted them to appear. And, yes, a recipe for making a cup of tea is laughable. Most recipes are more complex & people do want help. An internet connection to yr grocery store that reminds you to get milk, etc. will be useful to many.
Maybe this student is willing to take the advertising to pay for the services.
There are many architects now that see all urban surfaces, interior & exterior, as entertainment, advertising, and informational opportunities that cry out for good design.
Why should we not use a dull sweep of granite, or come to that, a toaster, for something more visually and mentally interesting?
You pose excellent questions about the continued relevance of architects in space-making.
Brilliant exploration of space, perception, manipulation and control. I didn’t take the tea-making literally – one can imagine the value of AR when flying a helicopter, decommissioning an unexploded bomb, or performing complex, dangerous tasks. How will the military and police use this technology?
The commercial potential will surely be exploited ad nauseam, as this film suggests, perhaps causing people to pay for more useful, premium, advertisement-free content.
The invasive possibilities are unsettling. RFID can already be hacked; what would happen if someone could get virtually into my head with AR?
I would much rather study the veins and striations on a slab of granite instead of pop-up advertising for fast-food and oil companies.
I would prefer to see AR that enhances our surroundings, instead of obscuring them…AR that enhances, challenges, and educates the user, instead of allowing them to be lazy.
Help with more complicated recipes? Certainly.
Internet shopping to restock groceries? That's ideal for the elderly/physically impaired and it's already available.
Those are good but obvious ideas to be considered. Regardless, that's not what the film chose to show.
If a student presents a project and states the design concept, but the drawings/model/animation/film fail to communicate that concept, then it's nothing more than talk-itecture. While every project is ripe with potential for new directions, development, and additional discussion, if certain details carry ominous connotations, they need to be brought to attention. That's what the learning process is all about. Ideas are presented to be challenged first and foremost, not just praised and patted on the back.
As I said, the video takes a great first step by successfully defining and illustrating a potential problem in a very evocative manner. It's successful in this because clearly it has us talking and thinking about different applications! The next step is proposing something better, a potential and new solution. I think the student's research would surely benefit from such an exercise and maybe what they've done so far will inspire another to take a different direction.
While everyone is complaining about advertising being on every imaginable surface, what if that advertising were supplementing your living expenses? Some people are already driving mobile billboards. They get paid to have their personal cars covered in advertising, but they make a few hundred bucks a month. Why not consider the same idea for your AR? Allow advertising for new TV shows to be in your field of vision, but you get cable for free. Allow advertising for Toyota, but, hey, my car payment is cut in half. You could customize the times when this advertising would be available – the more time, the better discount you get – and, of course, you can opt out at any time, but you'd just have to go back to paying full price. If I could have my car payment supplemented, I'd gladly watch a few adverts everywhere I went. Once it's paid off, I turn off the ads.