Artist Blends Augmented Reality With Real-World Scenarios For Kickstarted Video Series
Filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda gives us a peak into the future of technology and social media with his newest project.
Admit it: When you think of the future you conjure up images of The Jetsons (1962) or BladeRunner (1982). Designer and filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda wants to move the conversation forward–way forward–in his new series of five-minute augmented reality films, Hyper Reality (March 2014); however Matsuda's vision of the future is less robotics and space travel–more AR, ubicomp, smart cities, wearable computing, and surveillance drones.
Matsuda has chosen to stick to technology that is either already in use or already in development. “It’s how these systems could work together that make them interesting and disruptive. Ultimately, the films are not trying to predict the future, but instead offer us a new perspective on the way we live today,” he explains.
Information Meets Architecture
With a Masters of Architecture, London-based Keiichi began an exploration of a data-drenched future with his 2010 videos Domestic Robocop and Augmented City 3D. In his pieces, he uses video to understand and represent spaces and relationships.The ones between things and the ones between people. It’s also why he plans to produce the new Hyper Reality film series in 3D. “I don’t think you can beat it for representing spaces.”
And creating spaces is what he’s getting noticed for.
His inspirations? Literature ranks at the top of the list. Namely an essay on how high-end retail environments are a precedent for augmented spaces (The Poetics of Augmented Space by Lev Manovich in 2002) and a sci-fi book that has AR so woven into the everyday world it’s in the background (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow in 2003).
Other things that have caught his eye include the Tesco/Homeplus virtual store in Korean subway stations in June 2011, and in an earlier interview for The Creator’s Project, Keiichi explained, “… I’ve always been interested in urbanism and the changing character of the city. I’ve increasingly been drawn to its technology and media though, as these seem to have a really profound effect on our behaviour within it—maybe more so than the architecture itself.”
Questions about Emerging Technologies
This curiosity about people and places explains his desire to ask questions that seem to include:
Are open-source platforms better than walled data gardens?
Are information portraits a true reflection of our identities?
What is the cultural impact of merging online and real-world spaces?
Would you want to live in a world where media is everywhere?
Some like Keiichi agree that converging medias have instated a panic in us that we are becoming irrelevant if we’re not in the limelight or telling our stories. “I suppose to some extent, I'm feeding on that fear. Or maybe addressing it. Either way, I think that viewers of the new films will find a lot of things they can relate to.”
The Hyper Reality video series will go far beyond built environments to assess how the lives of a fashion icon, corporate creative, and laborer evolve and overlap. It will also address what user experiences they incorporate into their lives to meet their needs.
Keiichi’s 2010 work not only concentrated on gesture-based browsing reminiscent of Leap Motion and Kinect, but social-media-module projections that make you feel like you’re sporting Google Glass, and task-based navigation directions that look like Fidelity’s “green line.” To this point, NYU Associate Arts Professor Wafaa Bilal also articulated this spring that, “Augmented reality is the way of the future, it will be our way of navigating our environments.”
Right now, we’re in an era of test-and-try to find the navigation systems that work best.
Other input approaches today include keypads on your arm or hand shapes. Plus, Keiichi notes that “voice recognition and EEG [Electroencephalaography – the recording of electrical activity along the scalp] are starting to come of age.”
He suspects that we will use a combination of input devices in the future and elaborates, “I like gesture because it's easy to understand visually, and translates well into video. I see projection-based systems as a stepping-stone to personal immersive AR as seen in my films. They are really fascinating to look at now, but won't provide enough accuracy or brightness in the long term, especially in sunny Colombia where the new films are based.”
The Countdown to Film Production
While the laser focus on smart cities, super-social media, and ubiquitous AR won’t change from the old videos, the new plots allow for more case studies of what to expect of life in the future. “The proliferation of the virtual city is inevitable, so the only question for us is, how do we want to approach it?” Keiichi says.
With 22 days to go in his Kickstarter campaign, Keiichi Matsuda is more than half way to goal. His top reward has already sold out, though no one has opted to be one of the ten backers who gets their face in the film itself – yet.
Check out the film below for additonal info:
For more on Matsuda: