Manifest.AR - Invisible ARtaffects

Manifest.AR is an international artist collective working with new, emergent forms of Augmented Reality which open up a world of possibilities for artists to experiment with new ways of shaping the digital cloud in which we now live. The six projects commissioned as part of Turning FACT Inside Out exemplify some of the most innovative ways in which AR can be used as an artistic medium.

Artist

For more more information on the artist please visit

Tamiko Thiel

Tamiko Thiel
Artist

Manifest.AR is an international artist collective working with new, emergent forms of Augmented Reality which open up a world of possibilities for artists to experiment with new ways of shaping the digital cloud in which we now live.

The six projects commissioned as part of Turning FACT Inside Out exemplify some of the most innovative ways in which AR can be used as an artistic medium.

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to technology that offers a real-time view of one’s immediate surroundings, altered or enhanced by computer-generated information. When users examine their environment through their mobile devices, they see information (text, images, 3D objects) superimposed on the space around them, integrated into physical locations as though it existed in the real world. 

Developed in collaboration with the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, several of Manifest.AR’s projects link virtual objects to biological responses by attaching bio-sensing devices to users, taking their physiological signals to create new digital events.

Both AR and bio-sensing technology play a key role in contemporary experiments to generate customised experiences based on physical responses. Manifest.AR’s projects bring AR into the context of the gallery to explore new ways in which we can interact with technologies, not as customers but as critical citizens.

 

There are six projects in total:

 

I Must Be Seeing THINGS, John Cleater
The I Must Be Seeing THINGS viewer assists users in imagining what they think they might be seeing as they flip through the THINGS book of drawings.

EEG AR: Things We Have Lost, John Craig Freeman & Scott Kildall
In 2012, people were selected at random in the streets of Liverpool and simply asked, “What have you lost?” The location was recorded and a series of virtual lost objects were created based on the responses given. The objects were then placed back in the exact GPS coordinates where the recording was made, creating a citywide network of lost things, viewable on any mobile device.

FACT Sky Museum, Will Pappenheimer & Zachary Brady
A virtual skywriting project which expands FACT’s exhibition space to include the sky above the building. Create sky written drawings and messages in virtual airplane trails for the visions, thoughts and concerns of creative artists and citizens.

Diminished City, Mark Skwarek & Animesh Anand
Diminished City allows viewers to erase the Liverpool cityscape and parts of FACT with Diminished Reality. Diminished Reality is very similar to Augmented Reality; however, instead of adding content to the real world, it allows viewers to delete things from it. 

Biomer Skelters, Tamiko Thiel & Will Pappenheimer
A personal forest-to-rainforest ecosystem generator using bio-sensing. Walk the streets of Liverpool creating augmented reality vegetation (either native or tropical species depending on the participants mind-body state) in your wake. 

Human Conference Sensors, Sander Veenhof
Documentation of Human Conference Sensors. This project is a solution to conferences and presentations suffering from lack of audience concentration. Participants wear bio-sensing equipment and when a drop in concentration is detected, for example a heartbeat that is too low, an augmented reality interruption is displayed to re-engage the viewers.

For more information on all projects, and details on how to use them on your phone/tablet, please visit the Manifest.AR blog at http://manifestarblog.wordpress.com/turning-fact-inside-out/

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A collaborative commission between Manifest.AR, LJMU and FACT

Several of the artworks created by Manifest.AR for Turning FACT Inside Out are examples of Physiological Computing (PC) technology. PC is a term used to describe any computing system that uses real-time physiological data as an input stream to control the user interface. The most basic sort of PC is one that records a signal such as heart rate and displays it to the viewer via the screen.Other systems, such as Brain Control Interfaces (BCI), take a stream of physiological data and convert it into an input control at the interface, e.g. to move a cursor or select a command. Other types of PC simply monitor physiology in order to assess psychological states, which is used to trigger real-time adaptation. For example, if the system detects high blood pressure, it may assume the user is experiencing high frustration and offer help.The applications for PC range from adaptive automation in an aircraft cockpit to computer games where brain activity is used to initiate particular commands.

The collaboration between LJMU and Manifest.AR focused on physiological computing systems where live signals from the brain and body are used as adaptive inputs to technology.  Manifest.AR work with augmented reality where digital objects are superimposed on the physical scene using the camera view on smart phones and tablets.  Several pieces in the exhibit were developed that combined augmented reality with psychophysiology.  Human Conference Sensors from Sander Veenhof is designed to monitor concentration levels and to introduce augmented reality content if the viewer becomes disinterested.  Similarly, John Craig Freeman’s EEG AR: Things We Have Lost uses changes in brain activity to conjure up a variety of virtual objects reported to be “lost” by the people of Liverpool.

 

Biomer Skelters developed by Will Pappenheimer and Tamiko Thiel captures heart rate activity as a person walks around Liverpool and converts these data into a trail of virtual plants.  The idea behind Biomer Skelters is for the person to sustain a relaxed state during each journey as a low heart rate will increase the number of plants that appear in augmented reality.  In this piece, two teams of people, one planting native species and the other spawning invasive exotic plants will compete to “out-plant” one another across the city.

One of the ideas behind Biomer Skelters is to explore how people can use technology to explore their own physiological activity in a creative way.  The piece also allows the public to experience a novel and emerging category of technology for the first time. 

The use of physiological computing techniques to supplement the artworks created by Manifest.AR represents a collaboration between the artists and two researchers in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University - Kiel Gilleade and Professor Stephen Fairclough.  

For more information on the field of physiological computing, please visit the Physiological Computing research blog.

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