HMCS candidate speaks on new AR technology

By Alison Kim

John Kim, a Humanities Media and Culture Studies candidate for the Theory and Practice of New Media position presented a job talk this Wednesday. His presentation, The Rupture of the Virtual: New Media Practices in Site-Specific Installation, concerned the potential uses of Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

AR differs from Virtual Reality (VR) technology in that it blends footage in real time with computer-generated graphics.

Kim used a projector and his own voice to simulate one of his site-specific instillations, “Airplane, Tree, Minaret,” in which the participant would find a large, gray, unidentifiable object while on a walk in a forest.

His other project, “Military Bay,” used AR goggles to fill the San Francisco Bay with the entire military capacity of the United Sates. He said the intent of this project was to populate an area normally protected by sailboats and water skiers with the nuclear weapons and war vessels that are so rarely seen.

While Kim believes AR technology has the potential to shock people and alert them to the docility encouraged by virtual culture, he warns that is has a shelf life of about ten years, as the military is already using it as a training tool and its already starting to pop up in some households.

“I thought it was an interesting talk and it gave me a clearer picture of what a new media professor could teach,” said Hadley Pope ’09.