As part of my ongoing work with the Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon DER at Nottingham University I was commissioned to come up with an augmented reality, paper based, activity pack or object that incorporated their Artcodes pattern recognition system. MRL wanted to create something to help them with their ongoing research into the social aspects of pattern recognition technology. Ive been working with Artcodes on and off for a couple of years and am interested in seeing it develop more so that it can be used more widely by people to share and author their own digital content. I’d like to use it in some of my public art projects and work with groups and organisations so I was keen to use this commission to research more about how and why people might use this kind of system, what works and does not and where or how it can be socially useful.
I researched and mocking up various festive ideas for traditional decorations, cards and advent calendars, we tried these out and decided to go with the advent calendar, Advent Calendars are very familiar and fit with the idea of the codes opening digital doors. A nice calendar is a treasured item that many people use year after year and this fitted with my thoughts about it being something people would want to have out and play with, and could share and use again.
I designed and illustrated it as a freestanding, gatefold calendar with 24 opening doors. It is traditional in style and features scannable Artcodes to use with the Christmas with Artcodes app. The calendar comes with 24 Artcode stickers to put under any doors . When scanned, using the Christmas with Artcodes app, these codes open photos, videos and other media. People could personalise and replace all the content by adding their own (photos of text, images, drawings, sound, video, urls etc) and share their digital layers with other calendar owners who could view the digital layer created for them. Everyone with a phone or tablet can use the same calendar and create their own digital layer.
I’ve been surprised by the range of uses people found and in particular the empahsis on using it to make a connection with people isolated or far away. Those uses included making a calendar for a friend having a long term hospital stay; making calendars of family memories, and having your own calendar whilst sending one overseas to share christmas messages between family far away.
A lot of what the team are discovering is about the language and processes that make sense to one person but are confusing to another. When you take a risk and invite people to try out a new technology the uses people find for defy your imaginaton, they find unusual ways to use things and uses for things. If people are not creatively involved in development of technologies it can limit the potential for those technologies to develop in useful social ways.
March 16, 2016 by aliceangus · Comments Off on Artcodes and smart textiles at the Mixed Reality Lab
Since 2015 I’ve been working with the Mixed Reality Lab and Horizon Digital Economy Research at Nottingham University on their Artcodes/Aesthetocides . I have been part of the Artcodes research team and my work involves helping to research and develop the system through trialing and using it in public situations and testing out artcodes as part of public artworks, in social situatuions, working with groups and members of the public and experimenting with with textiles.
In my textiles reaearch I have been looking at how fabrics and drawings might ‘come alive’ in different ways with the stories that inspired them. My interest is in how the codes can be used materially with fabric, and socially, how they might work in different public situations, in the heritage sector and on costumes in theatre/performance.
The Artcodes app recognises visual codes (artcodes) within sophisticated patterns and illustrations. It allows you to create codes that can be made part of patterns and designs on everyday objects and in artworks. In contrast to image recognition the Artcodes system does not ‘recognise’ a specific image but it scans for a number of solid and blank spaces which can be in any configuration. This means that the shape can change but the code will still be recognised, the code can be shared between different images or patterns, or there can be multiple different drawings that contain the different codes.
I am looking at how codes and be used with different fabrics; as part of artworks, workshops and projects and in garments as part of performances with codes embedded into garments and costumes.