Three of the best augmented reality projects from Tribeca Festival are available for anyone -- free, no trip to New York required.
Whatever our metaverse future may be, artists' AR experiences can give you a glimpse of its more thoughtful possibilities.
Augmented reality took a backseat to virtual reality in the pandemic. VR headsets, which block out the real world to immerse you in a virtual one, suddenly commanded new appeal when everything social shut down and we sequestered ourselves at home. But now, AR -- which overlays the real world with digital ornaments -- has regained one prominent stage to show off its cutting edge again: immersive in-person experiences at big film festivals.
One of the latest, Tribeca Festival in New York last month, revived the full-blown, in-person installations of its Immersive curation for the first time in more than two years. Unless you were there, though, you probably missed them.
But three of Tribeca's best AR art experiments are available now -- free -- for anyone with a phone to experience them.
Iago: The Green Eyed Monster reimagines Shakespeare's villain as a modern military woman.
One app, ReachYou, feels like post-COVID meta therapy guided by a gentle, glitchy transmission from the future. Another, Emerging Radiance, gives voice to murals of Japanese-Americans who were wrongfully incarcerated by the US government during World War II. And a third, Iago the Green Eyed Monster, performs a rock 'n' roll anthem reimagining Shakespeare's infamous villain as a queer woman fed up with arrogant dudes.
These experiences give glimpses of what's possible with AR, which you've likely interacted with through Instagram and other social media filters, or trying out digitized replicas of an Ikea couch in your living room. The technology has often been at the forefront of mixed-reality experimentation, by getting new concepts into the hands of billions of people with phones rather than just a niche minority who bother with headsets or ludicrously expensive prototypes of new hardware.
They're also a tease of what things look like if our destiny really is to live in a metaverse (debatable).
ReachYou feels like meta-therapy sent from a metaverse.
Described as a "transmission from the future built for the tenderness of the present," ReachYou is an AR experience that transforms your phone into a portal, both to receive messages sent by a meditative emissary from the future and to record your own contemplations on "the human record."
Katrina Goldsaito, one of the project creators, said the team behind ReachYou created it "for strangers to connect over the things that are most important about being human and to give people a fierce nostalgia for the world we're living in right now."
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