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Wave Your Phone Over This Book and the Pictures Will Come to Life

'Prosthetic Reality' is a playful experiment in what's possible with the new medium of augmented reality.

by Beckett Mufson
24 September 2016, 1:45pm

Images courtesy the artist

An ambitious new art book could be the key to making augmented reality a household necessity. A group of 45 artists have banded together to create Prosthetic Reality, a collection of art that experiments with what's possibe in mixed reality art. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the book is the brainchild of Australian artists Stuart Campbell and Lukasz Karluk. Campbell, who works under the alias Sutu, made waves in 2015 for an augmented reality tattoo design that put Dragon Ball Z-style energy waves in the palm of his hand. In the comic world he's also known for interactive cyberpunk epic Nawlz, which depicts characters who have unlimited ability to record and edit their perceived realities. Another comic called Modern Polaxis, which incorporates mixed reality into the viewing process itself, sparked the idea for a collaborative book.

"After I released Modern Polaxis, I received a lot of emails from artists asking how they could make AR art," Campbell tells The Creators Project. He and Karluk created a Facebook group where interested creators could submit illustrations with an accompanying animation, which they combine using an app called EYEJACK. Since June, they've been marrying static art to animations submitted from all over the planet.

The results are stunning. Simply wave your smartphone over the book and static images come to life. Some are subtle, like Eeva Meltio's house being slowly engulfed by a storm. Others are knock-down drag-out works, like Hans Ckoe's morphing, ski-masked clones. The ideological potential of AR shines through Ezra Clayton Daniels' contribution, which shows African slaves at an 1800s auction block transformed by the app into orange-jumpsuited prisoners. 

Similar tech has been making waves for months thanks to HoloLens, Magic Leap, and Pokémon Go, but we've seen the art community experimenting with it for years. We've seen it in GIF books by Scorpion Dagger and Frances Adair Mckenzie, anti-ad apps that replace billboards with They Live!-style maxims and street art, new takes on fashion and music, and in shows mixed reality art into galleries and sculpture gardensProsthetic Reality is similar, but capitalizes on Campbell's unique perspective on mixed reality set up what could be the most ambitious independent AR object yet.

Donate to the Kickstarter to get your copy of Prosthetic Reality here. See more of Stuart Campbell's and Lukasz Karluk's work on their websites.

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