Augmented Reality offers a peek at the future of architecture and representation, but more generally, it marks a further integration of a novel technology to our everyday experience. Sim worlds and virtual reality have been plodding forward in niche corners of geekdom, but are limited by cumbersome and expensive gear. Augmented Reality is fundamentally more accessible. The simplicity and availability of the viewing medium (cell phones, free downloadable app) removes the process from the realm of rarefied and expensive devices and in the near future, special viewing glasses will become available, allowing us to seamlessly interact with digital flows, bridging the distance between our mind and data port. What we experience here is not fully virtual: what we see on our phone is what we see around us, eerily enhanced by the overlay of digital content.
We now step into the world of science fiction realized. Not that long ago, William Gibson in Sci fi and Donna Haraway in critical theory began positing the notion of the cybernetic organism, a biomorphic integration of the digital and physical. Neuromancer thrilled us with cyborgs, "jacked" into a meta-universe. The Matrix movies were lauded for their postulation of a digitally fabricated world consciously devoid of physical reality Now, talk of ubiquitous computing is emerging from academic speculation to public consumption. In short, data and the interconnectedness of technology is invading our physical and mental constructs." - Peter Franck, former Director of Art Omi: Architecture.
"In the recent past, many architects have dabbled in virtual reality, simulating augmented space using video projection technology and other media. Now, via developments in augmented reality, the general public can enter this virtual space and actively engage with the visions of mature experimental architects. The participants in Peeling Layers of Space: Out of Thin Air were selected in response to their visionary approach towards a new architecture that has changed the built and/or academic landscape. As I expected, every contribution to this exhibition is masterful in the ways it uses augmented reality to intervene with the tranquil landscape of Omi, superimposing exciting and unpredictable visions that will make an everlasting impression on its visitors. Thanks to these interventions, Omi is now the locus of an unprecedented fourth dimension of fierce force that will continue to expand our understanding of space and time in the 21st century." - John Cleater, Curator