Augmented Reality Installation / Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China
Integrating mobile phone augmented reality technology with traditional Chinese art and storytelling, the AR installation of Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China portrays a society undergoing an unprecedented process of urbanization. The narrative of the 'Family of the Village Head' is based upon a series of real-life incidents that have taken place during this time of tumult; clashes over land eviction, kidnapping of children, suicides of migrant workers, and man-made environmental catastrophes are among them. In executing the piece, Lily & Honglei created a number of characters whose visual forms draw inspiration from traditional Chinese shadow play. Utilizing the capabilities of augmented reality technology, the audience may then experience the installation in real time and space through their mobile phones. The classically-inspired shadow-puppet characters are superimposed upon real-world locations in the rural and urbanizing regions in northern China. Through phone cameras, two layers of imagery are merged; the foreground comes to life in a digital application atop the background of reality. It is this dynamic between the new and the traditional, between modern realities and the age-old human condition that embodies the implications of the work. A collection of screenshots from the piece is presented here.
How to Experience the AR installations in Real-Time: First, download and launch the AR browser application Layar on your iPhone/iPad or Android phone. Since the AR work is a site-specific installation, you need to visit the actual physical location for the real-time experience. At the site of the AR installation, aim the device’s camera around to view the 'virtual sculptures' surrounding you. To take a step farther, you may also capture the artworks with your mobile device's camera. The Shadow Play AR is currently installed at two sites: Gougezhuang Village 苟各庄镇 in Hebei Province and Tongxian County 通县 in Beijing, China.
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