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Post #1305

Everting A.R.: “Crossing Borders” by Choy Ka Fai

More on the theme of ‘Gibsonian-eversion‘ or pushing augmented reality into the physical world, this time a video speculation by Choy Ka Fai of RCA Design Interactions.

This work was part of the “Future of Etiquette” project I worked on with the year one group on the course, to a brief in part from T-Mobile’s design research team in Berlin.

RCA DI/T-Mobile project: final tutorials

Ka Fai constructed a simple apparatus using cheap laser-pointers that indicated the field of view of a digital camera to those in the surroundings.

In early design probes on the streets of Berlin, one of the most fascinating ‘protocols’ observed by passers-by was how almost universally the use of a camera created a spatial barrier between the photographer and the subject, that, at least for a short period of time, was seen as impassable.

Fascinating, in that most cameras are now digital, and there is no film to be wasted by the incursion of passer-bys in shot as perhaps there was only ten years ago. The etiquette is a hang-over from a previous technology perhaps…

The video below illustrates a period of time in Trafalgar Square, London – imagining that that invisible barrier is made visible – making clear the overlaps, frictions and interactions the cameras could create in such a highly-photographed piece of the city.


3 Comments and Trackbacks

  • 1. Ed said on 8 April 2010...

    This is intriguing and fun. It would be great to see this in social contexts where you don’t expect/tolerate the chaotic intrusion of strangers into your photos. There’s not much friction or interaction on show here, especially between simultaneously taken photos. Compare the spaces at (especially a highly socially structured) party. There you might perceive the positive, as well as the negative, forces generated by camera-space: certain social groups being selectively sucked into the view of the appropriate camera, others deterred. It would be good to colour code both sets of friends and their cameras to spot the interactions.

    Incidentally, I’d wager that the social norm of not passing through the field of a photo has, even historically, had much less to do with the expense of film, and much more to do with the salience of others’ intentions in what we perceive and do. But there’s nothing new to the idea that we tune our movements to accommodate people’s goal-related pursuits- think of how you step round even a very casual game of football played in a town square, or experience special pleasure in declining your right of way at a pedestrian crossing to let a cyclist whizz past.

    There’s a norm among the Deaf that one shouldn’t pass between two people who are signing: visual conversation in this context (as against hearing the words) is disrupted by the occlusion, and for that reason the interspace of Deaf talk is disproportionately sacred/aversive.

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