AR Projects 2018-2022

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress



Cherry Blossoms

2022, interactive encounter with a plant-based digital life-form in AR

Supporting Developers: Selina Wernike & André Selmanagić

Plants have diverse senses, which they use purposefully to analyze their environment, communicate with it and influence it to their advantage. They therefore also possess what can be understood as intelligence. Their survival strategies are often so sophisticated that they have been the subject of scientific research for some time. However, it seems that many people are unaware of their remarkable abilities.

Cherry Blossom addresses this by enabling an encounter with a digital plant that partially simulates the sensory capabilities of its carbon-based role model. Through interaction and conversation, secrets about how plant life works and the amazing abilities of flora can be elicited from the digital model; attributes that are all too often hidden from humans in the physical world.

Both in this intention and in its clear, poetic aesthetic, the work of the photographer Rheinländer can be understood as a contemporary development of Blossfeldt’s plant studies of the early 20th century. “My plant documents are intended to help re-establish the connection with nature,” Blossfeldt wrote in his 1932 illustrated book Wundergarten der Natur (engl. Nature’s Garden of Wonders). While he pursued this goal with a view to plant structure in the medium of photography, Rheinländer uses augmented reality a century later to convey internal processes.

The result is a markerless application whose development was accompanied by many experiments to use the diverse sensor technology of the device: Communication with the cherry tree is not only via touch, but also via movement and a chat window with speech-to-text function. The plant responds purely textually.

Shaking the smartphone, for example, generates an impulse that is perceived by the plant via its root system, corresponding to the propagation of sound waves in the soil. Phototropism, the ability to perceive sunlight and align itself based on light, is simulated by the circulating sun and the branches moving in unison with it. In addition, the tree – if animated to do so – secretes scent molecules corresponding to particles that plants use to communicate with conspecifics and other living beings. By touching the “bubbles” surrounding the plant, additional information texts can be displayed. The encounter ends with a silent dissolution of the plant.

Text: Adrian Rheinländer and Maja Stark


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Mirror Neurons

2022, Interactive augmented reality installation
Supporting developers: Selina Wernike und Dagmar Schürrer

The installation is based on an imaginary north-south axis. Drawn across Europe, a far-reaching political shift to the right began at the ends of this axis in 2022; in Sweden with the abdication of Magdalena Andersson, in Italy with the election of Giorgia Meloni.

The virtual work processes these developments in a structure that shows similarities with a neural network. When approaching the neuron nodes, which are covered with a spiky sealed, cactus-like surface, they each begin to sound.

The Spatial Audio application is based on a library of sounds produced and edited by the artist. “Volumetric Audio” is used, a plug-in that extends the standard audio functions of Unity. It uses colliders of a game object for the calculation of the sonic spatialisation; in this case in the form of three-dimensional capsules adapted to each respective neuron node. Coupled to their own changing position in the room, visitors create sonic relations.

Text: Anke Eckardt


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O.B.E. – Ego Passages

AR dance performance
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsh

Artificial intelligence is the new and old buzzword. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that artificial intelligence will pass a Turing test, reaching the level of human intelligence by 2029.[1] But what about consciousness? Is consciousness even possible in artificial intelligence? What does consciousness actually mean?

Consciousness is the appearance of the world: the ability to actively shift the first-person perspective inward, to explore our emotional state, and to direct our attention to thought processes. Human consciousness is fundamentally different from other biologically evolved phenomena in that it allows a reality to appear within itself. “The conscious brain is a biological machine – a reality generator that purports to tell us what exists and what does not exist.” (Metzinger, The Ego Tunnel, p. 55)

The basic idea of modern consciousness research is that the contents of our consciousness are the contents of a simulated reality in our brain and that even the feeling of our existence is part of this simulation.

“The delicate apricot pink of the setting sun is not a property of the evening sky; it is a property of the inner model of the evening sky (…) created by our brain (…). It is all exactly as the physics teacher told us in school: Out there, in front of your eyes, there is only an ocean of electromagnetic radiation. … Most of them are invisible to you. And can never become part of your conscious model of reality.” (ibid.)

So is reality as we experience it every day just a mental stage set, a representation of the world itself? Are we already living in a virtual reality?

O.B.E. Ego Passages is an augmented reality installation consisting of six scenes about the nature of consciousness. The augmentation of posters placed for this purpose took place in September 2020 via smartphone and tablet at six different locations on the grounds of Holzmarkt 25.

O.B.E. is based on some ideas of the contemporary philosopher Thomas Metzinger. Consciousness as a generator of reality is the central theme of the work. The dancer in the installation (the Ego Machine Agent, EMA for short) moves fluidly between realities to show how fragile our model of reality actually is. What means real, what is simulated, and by what machines? EMA reveals cracks, disrupts perception, and creates unsettling moments that shake our conscious model of reality.

[1] (11/24/2020).

Literature Cited:
Thomas Metzinger (2009): Der Ego-Tunnel. Eine neue Philosophie des Selbst: Von der Hirnforschung zur Bewusstseinsethik. Aus dem Englischen von Thomas Metzinger und Thorsten Schmidt. Berlin Verlag.


Screenshot "MIRAR – MediaArchitecture-AR"
Screenshot "MIRAR – MediaArchitecture-AR"
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 MIRAR – MediaArchitecture-AR

augmented media and narrative interventions for the public space

Supporting developer: André Selmanagić

Whether media art, media architecture or corresponding curatorial activities: preparing large-scale facade projections requires elaborate test setups with mostly expensive production technology. However, thanks to a concept by the curator and media artist Anke von der Heide, these unpopular resource guzzlers could soon be a thing of the past: her augmented reality application MediaArchitecture-AR (MIRAR) enables the testing of moving image-based content such as video art on site by augmenting the chosen media facade with the corresponding content.

This combination of real and virtual worlds allows media content to be assessed in the current lighting conditions. The spatial and social use of urban space and the resulting visual axes –with regard to narrow paths, busy streets and the changing use of public squares – can also be taken into account. The colors, speed and brightness of the video image can be adapted to the real conditions of the recorded surface and to the viewer’s line of sight to enable a realistic preview.

At any location in front of the facade, notes can be created, screenshots and video recordings saved and timestamps and GPS coordinates attached. With this information, the test can be discussed later in the production team, and the findings can then be incorporated into further planning.

Within the app, own projects can be set up with an existing building that is linked to a digital content (e.g. a video). For augmentation, the real building is overlaid with a virtual representation (a 3D model of the building). The media content is projected onto this digital object using virtual projectors. Since real and virtual buildings coincide perfectly, the illusion of a live facade projection is created.

Text: Anke von der Heide, André Selmanagić, Maja Stark

About the artist:

Anke von der Heide is a curator and media artist with an interdisciplinary curriculum vitae starting with a degree in visual communication at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar, in architecture and urban design at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin and the Tongji University Shanghai as well as a research project in Intermedia Art at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

She works in the field of media architecture in a transdisciplinary research area between technology and public space. Her special attention is paid to media content and how the urban environment is narrated anew through media.

Anke von der Heide curated the facade projection festival Genius Loci Weimar and the Festival for urban Light-culture in Berlin as well as various symposia on media architecture and the scientific and artistic approach to the material light. She has been researching at the TU Berlin in the area of Smart Cities and since 2013, she has been teaching in the field of media architecture and human-computer interaction departments of the Bauhaus Universität Weimar and the Quality and Usability Lab of the TU Berlin. In this context, her work and research have always been concerned with the message and effect as well as the innovative design of media architecture.


Rose Garden

Interactive AR-Postcard
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

The inspiration for this work by visual artist Annagul Beschareti was the famous poem Golestān (Engl.: Rose Garden) by the 13th century Persian poet Saadi, which speaks of the everlasting beauty of a rose garden. In the present prototype, Beschareti abstracts the motif of the non-wilting flowers, gul, and lets them grow out of a Persian carpet in augmented reality as soon as they are touched. An ornamental postcard serves as a marker (see motif).

Beschareti’s overall concept enables a digital carpet of flowers that makes even bare or asphalted earth surfaces bloom – a work of poetry under the sign of Saadi, interpreted in a contemporary way that once again manifests its immortality, because:

»Of what use will be a dish of roses to thee?
Take a leaf from my rose-garden.
A flower endures but five or six days
But this rose-garden is always delightful.«
(Saadi. The Gulistan.

Text: Annagul Beschareti und Maja Stark


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2020, AR postcard
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht & Dagmar Schürrer

Goethe: love-bombing narcissist and one of the most important creators of German-language poetry. The extent to which the poem Heidenröslein is one of Goethe’s great poetic creations and why it was able to become so famous is not self-explanatory. After all, one cannot help but notice the blatant violence in this poem – the poem reads as the rape of a woman by a boy.

The suffering of beautiful women in prose, poetry, and opera and the uncontrollable urges of a man are role models with which we can no longer identify. So how does one deal with such an art form that comes from another century and transports images that we no longer want to see and reconstruct? Where do these images come from and rather: who benefits from the fact that they are still spreading?

The augmented reality application Heidenrose by Ariane Stamatescu uses the Heidenröslein to examine critical aspects in the representation of sexualized violence against women in our cultural history. Visual playfulness is coupled with critical and artistic positions on this topic.

The multi-layered application, based on a profound literature and art research, consists of two sides to be considered separately, which nevertheless intertwine in terms of content:

On the scenic front, fleshy, humming roses grow, which change their idyllic appearance when touched; further touching also changes the mood of the associated sound.

On the informative-critical reverse side, three cues appear, leading to three different thematic islands. Proverbial roots with panels arranged into collages bring together various contents on the respective topic in multimedia form, the effect of which cannot be escaped.

The application is part of INKA AR, free AR app of the research group INKA at the HTW Berlin.

Text: Ariane Stamatescu
Editorial: Maja Stark


Bots 03, Banz & Bowinkel, installationview at DAM Gallery Berlin
Bots 03, Banz & Bowinkel, installationview at DAM Gallery Berlin
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augmented vinyl print
3 x 3 m

Supporting developer: André Selmanagić und Michael Droste

Not least in form of their own avatars, Friedemann Banz and Giulia Bowinkel have been moving in computer-generated parallel worlds for quite some time. Their own body movements in space – recorded and transformed into fluid simulations using suitable software – provide input to computers for the calculation of the artists’ digital twins, which can be moved back and forth along these colour traces. Banz & Bowinkel transfer the digitally manipulated simulations as renderings from the virtual to the analog reality, but they also produce virtual reality art and have already used augmented reality as a tool to show supplementary content-related aspects and details in selected works on a virtual layer.

In their latest series, augmented reality is in focus of Banz & Bowinkel’s artistic work for the first time. Now everything revolves around the question of how AR can be understood as an independent art form. For this purpose, one of the avatars from a previous project was revised and equipped with an independent behavior. His decisions are now simulated live. In a structure of meta rules created by the artists, he now has to orientate himself, but inevitably acts in a play that is directed by them. A sharp-edged patterned carpet on the floor – implemented as a vinyl print of 3 x 3 meters in size – is used as a marker. Here, multiple avatars “exist” and can be made visible using the AR app by Banz & Bowinkel.

Like real human beings the avatars are driven by internal needs. While hunger, tiredness and hygiene lead us to active action, the avatars’ action is determined by mathematical formulas using a so-called Utility AI: potential behaviour like “seek company” or “avoid more than three neighbours” have scores, which are constantly recalculated based on the avatars’ ever-changing needs and environmental factors. The behaviour with the highest score wins; triggering a new set of animations as well as updating the needs accordingly. While this underlying concept seems simple, breaking down human behaviour into numbers and formulas was a time-consuming process, albeit giving insights into our own human decision-making processes.

Some of the animations – e.g. communicative gestures – are pre-recorded using motion-capturing (e.g. taken from the online-tool Mixamo) and will play out in the same manner every time. Others combine pre-recorded walking animations with Unity’s pathfinding algorithms, allowing the avatar to roam freely and interact more closely with the viewer.

As a supposedly self-determined machine an avatar is dependent on its creators – us humans. Contrary to the current great enthusiasm for machine-based decision-making, Banz & Bowinkel believe the focus should rather be on who “animates” these machines and on which types of orders are implemented.

Text: Banz & Bowinkel, André Selmanagić und Maja Stark

About the artists:

Giulia Bowinkel, together with Friedemann Banz, forms the Berlin based artist duo Banz & Bowinkel. In their work, Banz & Bowinkel focus on the computer as an every day device and its influence on human culture. The focus here is on the perception of the world, which people understand as reality and is now simulated via the computer. With their work, Banz & Bowinkel question the concept of simulated reality and thereby human perception of the world in virtual space.  The multiple award-winning works of Giulia Bowinkel and Friedemann Banz have been exhibited at the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, the House of Electronic Arts in Basel as well as the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen.


e.artis (6)
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augmented fineliner and watercolor on paper

27,7 x 55,4 cm
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

The bathtub is a central theme in Bianca Kennedy’s œuvre: in 2016, she began a thorough exploration of this intimate place of human existence in film, and in the following years she created a comprehensive series of coloured drawings based on a kaleidoscope of found bathing scenes. On them, the tub is never empty, but always filled with liquid and more or less lively populated by one or more characters in diverse situations and of different ages. The true life out there is now and then reflected, reduced to a few square meters, bundled, bared, dissolved and heated in the tub water. Whether boredom or passion: both are intensified in the tub.

Drawings in the same style also form the basis of Kennedy’s virtual reality work VR all in this together of 2018, in which she catapults the viewer into the tiled retreat of two self-absorbed bathers and exposes him/her to a truly emotional roller coaster: on the one hand you can enjoy the scene of peaceful intimacy accompanied by the sound of the softly splashing tubwater, on the other hand you can not help but feel as an intruder or voyeur, caught in a spectacle not intended for one’s own perception.

In contrast, the bather on the artist’s augmented drawing of 2019 looks out of the picture: Relaxed she twirls a strand of hair between her fingers and makes eye contact, as if she were familiar with her real counterpart. Six differently shaped noses in the washed limonade-orange bathing water render the scene surreal and at the same time more sensuous, but inevitably raise the question, whose olfactory organs the female nude allows near her, and why – or are they even representations of our own sense of smell creeping up on the woman?

The augmented reality app INKA, which is linked to the drawing, continues the game of closeness and distance: Just when you believed yourself to be only a few steps away from the image of the bathing figure,
the application pampers a whole forest of potted paper plants behind a closed door, their spatial dimension moving you far away from the scene.

An additional element on the right hand side is a room corner that continues the waldmeister-green bathroom tiling and shows a washbasin, bathrobe and towel. And that’s not all: The face of the protagonist is
suddenly distorted into a one-eyed grin, which evokes an additional level of (emotional) distance through its deterrent effect. All displayed elements are analogue drawings, but the digital augmented reality technology
allows their spatial arrangement and a playful interaction: You can remove almost all components of the extended reality by simply touching the screen accompanied by a clear splash sound – only the room corner
stays persistently. Each tap also leads to another surreal metamorphosis of the protagonist, with her familiar face reappearing only occasionally, like an ephemeral vision.

For the augmentation of Swimming with the lovers, Bianca Kennedy separated her ideas into useful subtasks, enabling a structured and efficient approach. Parallel to the actual implementation, this enabled the deepening into individual subareas of the development of augmented reality applications, and gave the artist the knowledge and the necessary tools to independently realize similar projects in the future. One of the key points of her AR work was the interaction as different events are triggered when touching the smartphone screen. In implementation, this required various sorts of queries in the program, for instance where the screen has been touched, whether it is a single click etc. Likewise, further code is needed if the touches should be tested on the computer during development. To simplify all this, the tool Lean Touch was imported into the project, which already handles many of the basic queries internally.

Text: Maja Stark and Leonid Barsht

About the artist:

Bianca Kennedy studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where she graduated as Meisterschülerin from the class of Professor Klaus vom Bruch. Scholarships have taken her to North America, Barcelona, Athens and Tokyo. Her animations, drawings and site-specific installations have been exhibited at the Kunstverein München, the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in São Paulo, the C-Gallery Milan and at the Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka. In addition to analytical stop-motion animations, in which Bianca Kennedy reveals human abysses, the artist regularly works on photo and drawing series for which she stages her own spatial room-models.


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Evolution of Street Art

Street Art documentation with augmented reality
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

Evolution of Street Art is an interactive documentation of street art in Berlin’s urban space. Focusing on guerilla art such as graffiti and stencils, the AR application documents the constant transformation of urban places: Overnight, new street art arrives, changes or falls victim to urban planning measures.

In this context, Evolution of Street Art pursues the goal of a large-scale and at the same time multi-layered outdoor gallery: distributed over various spots and routes, the various street art works can be interactively explored and walked through. With the help of an interactive map and GPS, users are navigated to the respective spots and trigger the augmented reality content when they reach their destination. This content is dynamically loaded from an external database, making it possible to expand the application at any time.

Documentary film and audio recordings take the tour participants on a journey to artwork, artists, projects and locations. They also gain insights into the design, implementation, history, activism and people surrounding the works. Photographic and other visual material makes already destroyed art visible again on site.

Evolution of Street Art is available to everyone free of charge and is designed as a growing art exhibition. A participatory expansion in the sense of an open platform is planned. Artists will have the opportunity to place their art, performances and gigs interactively or to organize an exhibition. There are hardly any limits to creativity and the Berlin street art scene will have a contemporary tool for documenting and presenting their works.

Text: Maja Stark, Leonid Barsht and Botorius



Christina Sarli, Señor Pulpo
Chrisitna Sarli, Señor Pulpo, Installationview at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
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Señor Pulpo

Hybrid AR Artist Book / Circular Poetry
Supporting developer: André Selmanagić

»Señor Pulpo« is a hybrid artist’s book by Christina Sarli, organized in two parts. Each part tells the story of a common octopus from a different temporal perspective.

The first part features visual interpretations of eight of the seventy-three haikus – the haiku is the shortest form of poetry in the world – from Gabriel Rosenstock’s collection »The Naked Octopus«. They depict the fantasies and adventures of an octopus that emerges from the sea to fulfill its abiding love for a human woman in eight acts. Afterwards, she cruelly kills and eats him. The images are augmented with 3D animations that interpret the near-death experience of an octopus in color and sound—rendered as day or night
versions, depending on the time of interaction. The second part is an augmented reality comic that provides the background for the central near-death experience described before: the capture and cruel handling of the animal—still alive—according to traditional practice. The story ends with the last memory of our hero, Señor Pulpo: the appearance of the fisherman’s beautiful wife. Within the augmented reality, a close-up function has been implemented: the closer you get to the images with your mobile device’s camera, the more digital content you will discover—coded functions that act as an invitation to influence the material in a participatory way and to decode hidden content ever more deeply.

Text: Christina Sarli and Maja Stark


Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
Installation view, Videokunstnacht Kleinmachnow Berlin, medienkunstverein, 2020
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AR video installation
Two monitors, 10:55min
Supporting developers: Leonid Barsht and Elisabeth Thielen

Dagmar Schürrer’s two-part video work VIRTUALIZED captivates through its materiality without being material. It seduces through its haptic without being tangible. It disturbs with organic forms and sounds that are largely artificial. The artist’s focus is on the virtual, which, in agreement with the philosopher Pierre Levy, she understands not as an illusion or fake, but as an additional level to the real and the current: a state of the possible, detached from material presence and geographical location – like dreams or memories a vague structure before actualization in the real, constantly in flux and multiply distributed, floating in transition and subject to its own laws. The artist experiments with augmented reality in a virtuoso manner: triggered by individual video stills, she lets her visual worlds break out of the screens. One enters a virtual space, a 3D collage of digital objects trouvés and creations of the artist. Here, the oscillation between concrete figurative and abstract content opens up a broad field of chains of associations that refer to the familiar and at the same time imply something new.

Text: Dagmar Schürrer & Maja Stark

About the artist:

Dagmar Schürrer is a media artist based in Berlin, Germany. The focus of her artistic practice lies on the transition where the digital and the analogue, the real and the virtual and the abstract and the figurative collide. In her digital works she reflects on issues related to our increasing commitment to digital technology and the societal and individual implications of digitalisation: on new concepts of space and time, the materiality of the digital, computerisation of thinking processes, on late capitalist paranoia and projected utopian futures. She assembles digitally generated objects and animations, text, drawings and sound to form intricate video sound montages, evocative of painting, collage or poetry. Ever unfolding in changing variations they are presented on screen, as installations or combined with new technologies such as augmented reality.

She holds a degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin ́s College of Art and Design in London, UK. Her work has been exhibited internationally, amongst others at the New Contemporaries at the ICA London, the Moscow Biennale for Young Art, Transmediale Vorspiel in Berlin, the Rencontres International Paris/Berlin at the Louvre Auditorium, and the Museum of Waste in Changsha, China. Her videos have been screened at numerous festivals: SUPERNOVA in Denver, the Seattle Film Festival, the Athens Digital Arts Festival, the Horn Experimental Film Festival in Israel, Tricky Women Festival in Vienna, or the Diagonale Film Festival in Graz. In recent years she received the Goldrausch Scholarship of the Senate of Berlin and was shortlisted for the Berlin Art Prize and the Tenderpixel Award in London.


Dani Ploeger Smart Fence
Border Operation
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augmented silkscreen
42 x 59 cm
Supporting developer: Elisabeth Thielen

Smartphone, Smart Home, Smart Clothes, Smart Water. The term “smart” has become the omnipresent buzzword in marketing jargon and paints the image of artificially intelligent high-tech products for everyday relief and health-enhancing nutrition of the advanced human. He wears smart objects in his pocket and on his skin, they enter our bedroom and are even physically consumed. But how does the progressive human proceed if he wants to keep someone off his back?

Smart Fence is the title of a multi-part work by Dani Ploeger – and this title is not a cynical exaggeration of the marketing trend described, but the actual name of high-tech border fences, which are located on parts of the external borders of Europe, to deter and keep away immigrants. Smart Fences are equipped with “smart” technologies such as heat and motion sensors and night vision cameras. The high-tech equipment of the fence stands in stark contrast to its archaic purpose of fearful separation. Ploeger wrote in an interview with We-make-money-not-art: “[T]heir framing as supposedly clean and precise technologies is symptomatic of a broader cultural practice that uses narratives of technology to justify means of violence”(Zitat: Ploeger does not accept the argument that the use of Smart Fences has been operated only by Hungary and is due to the “uneuropean” policy of Hungarian President Victor Orban, because: “This perspective ignores that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency In the end, these fences are quite convenient to many governments across the EU that want to restrict immigration (Zitat:

In the centre of Ploeger’s Smart Fence exhibition at Belgian Bruthaus Gallery 2019 was an original piece of Smart Fence from the border between Hungary and Serbia – it is the trophy of a quite hazardous surprise attack by the artist on this fence, documented on video and published online. In his AR work, a piece of this barbed wire is set as a paper-colored cut-out in front of the lead-gray background of a screen print. In Unity, it is not represented as a 3D object but as a two-dimensional graphic and is transparent at the beginning of the augmentation. As soon as one scans the screen print, which serves as the marker, the texture’s alpha channel and thus the opacity are slowly increased to the maximum value, whereby the fence moves towards the camera and thus the user. While the rusty serrated piece of metal sways towards the user, it slowly starts to spin. By rotating the smartphone, which is read out via the accelerometer of the device, the object can now be given a short angular momentum, before it swings past the camera and finally disappears.

Text: Maja Stark und Elisabeth Thielen

About the artist:

Dani Ploeger combines performance, video, computer programming and electronics hacking to investigate and subvert the spectacles of techno-consumer culture. Re-purposing, mis-using, and at times destroying everyday devices, his work exposes seemingly banal and taken-for-granted aspects of digital culture as objects of both physical beauty and political power.

Among others, he has worked with traditional metal workers in the old city of Cairo to encase tablet computers in plate steel, attended firearms training in Poland to shoot an iPad with an AK47, made a VR installation while embedded with frontline troops in the Donbass War, and travelled to dump sites in Nigeria to collect electronic waste originating from Europe.



field notes

augmented publications
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

field notes is the platform for contemporary music and jazz in Berlin. The accompanying field notes magazine reports every two months on current developments and the most important events of the city. Thanks to the AURORA production laboratory, all publications for the Monat der zeitgenössischen Musik from field notes are now not only visible but audible with augmented reality!


Juliane Wünsche, ZITTAU 1999, Trailer
"Zittau 1999", Screen Shot
"Zittau 1999", Screen Shot
"Zittau 1999", Image Marker
"Zittau 1999", Image Marker
"Zittau 1999", Screen Shot
"Zittau 1999", Screen Shot
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Augmented Reality Application for the novel Nationalbefreite Zone [Nationally Liberated Zone]
Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

The author Juliane Wünsche shows how augmented reality (AR) can be used to expand literature with an AR application accompanying her novel Nationalbefreite Zone [Nationally Liberated Zone]. The story takes place in the small town of Zittau in East Saxony in 1999: in the region, which is characterized by unemployment and lack of prospects, the economic and social disruptions of the post-reunification period lead to national pride and xenophobia. The East German student Franziska Wendt and the West German professor Alexander Harten get into the struggles between left and right and have to make a decision: interfere or look away, fight or give up, go or stay.

Many of the events described in the novel are based on real events – with describing the situation in Zittau, the author devotes herself to a piece of recent German history that stands as an example for the economic and political development of numerous small towns in East Germany after 1989 and provides valuable information about current developments. Here, great things are told in the details – and not just by Juliane Wünsche.

The prototype for the AR application was created in the AURORA production lab, where in addition to the novel plot, contemporary witnesses from Zittau also have their say. They speak from historical newspaper articles and videos, fading in using AR, and the novel characters appear in the form of animated illustrations. Political, economic and cultural backgrounds are also conveyed through a commented AR slide show, a playable dialect memory and a simulated car trip through the border triangle around Zittau – including changeable radio stations. The diverse AR content is evoked by a card set with illustrations for the novel by Kerstin Welther and Matthias Ries. These markers can be scanned individually and in different combinations to create a total of 12 different augmentations.

East and west, true events and fiction, analog and virtual world: Nationalbefreite Zone [Nationally Liberated Zone] is a cross-border commuter in several ways. Its experimental multimedia aspects have new potential for lively communication of politics and history, which could for example be used in the educational field such as secondary schools.

Text: Juliane Wünsche and Maja Stark

About the artist:

Juliane Wünsche was born in Löbau in 1974 and is a blogger and author. During her training as an editor and her degree as a translator for English and Czech, she wrote reports, portraits and features about the economic and social upheavals in Upper Lusatia for the local editorial offices of the Sächsische Zeitung in Löbau and Zittau. Juliane Wunsch has lived in Berlin since 2003. On her blog she reviews books, plays, exhibitions and other cultural events. Nationalbefreite Zone [Nationally Liberated Zone] is her debut novel.


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Lehrsprüche der Bauernschlauen (Maxims of the Cunning)

Cycle of poetry expanded by interactive AR dioramas
Supporting developers: Leonid Barsht and Dagmar Schürrer

»du kreatur, sagte sie, ich lade dich ein
einladungen schlage ich nie aus. so beginnt jede geschichte« (K.S. Ditzler)

Lehrsprüche der Bauernschlauen are an invitation to 12 fantastic poems by Russian-German interdisciplinary artist and writer Katia Sophia Ditzler. Her powerful poetry seems to resonate from a surreal, whimsical world in the best sense of the word, and is ideal for visualization. In augmented reality, Ditzler has designed an interactive diorama with sound for each poem, which wonderfully matches her poetry in style, but does not interpret it directly. Instead, it provides it a world invisible to the naked eye in which the poems perfectly unfold.


Screenshot "Karla"
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Karla – a project of Urban AR Productions at Karl-Marx-Allee
Olga Bedia Lang & Julia Laube

Augmented Reality Staging in the Public Space

Supporting developer: Elisabeth Thielen

Berlin is full of history.

How can we work with the urban space in a literary and scenographic way, while taking its historical dimension into account? How can we tell stories in a way that is connected to the places?

Julia Laube and Olga Bedia Lang have formulated an answer to this question under their label Urban AR Productions: Augmented Reality (AR) offers them an interesting possibility to establish a temporal-spatial intermediate level in urban space and to use it as a medium.

Karla is the title of an integrative theatrical production on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin. In the AR application Urban AR, visual and auditory content is combined with the context of the real setting of Berlin’s urban space.

As soon as the users are in the corresponding GPS room, they can access the various chapters of the story using their smartphones or tablets and headphones. The story begins in front of the former Karl Marx bookstore and develops dramaturgically over seven further locations, which the users can walk through in a performative city walk.

Karla is the story of a love affair in the context of political criticism and resistance in the 1980s in the former GDR. The female protagonist leads to the individual chapters via the audio, sharing her personal memories and the love story of her youth. When she was in her early twenties, searching for an attitude towards the world, she met a man who was active in political resistance. She felt connected to him through her love, the shared vision of a better world and a common future.

About the artists:

Julia Laube:
Julia Laube studied costume and stage design at the UDK Berlin and the Kunsthochschule Weißensee as well as scenography and media art at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe. Since her diploma in 2016 she has worked on her own performances and theater work as well as on other various film productions and theatre projects. She lives and works in in her home town Berlin.

Olga Lang:
Olga Bedia Lang is an author and also works in joint projects with other artists. She has a master’s degree in Oriental Studies, Art History and German Studies and worked for several years as a mediator of contemporary art. Besides prose, poetry and essays, she writes scenic texts and stages them in radio plays.
Portfolio Julia Laube:
Portfolio Olga Bedia Lang:


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2022, AR installation

Via an installative collage in real space as a marker, Maja Rohwetter’s AR-experience »contingencies« becomes accessible with the app »Apparition« developed in the context of the production lab AURORA. The title refers to sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s definition of contingency as something neither necessary nor impossible. The possibility that something given, to be experienced, imagined, can always be like this, but also different, denies an absolute truth of reality.

In the field of debate between digital technologies and painting, Maja Rohwetter reflects on the fleetingness and constructedness of our concept of reality. To what extent does digital space present itself to us as reality? How real is reality that is perceived via a display? Where is the boundary between the static image within the »frame« and its temporal dimension?

In her artistic work, Maja Rohwetter explores a contemporary visual language between analog and digital, real and virtual. She develops her image fragments in a repeated media transfer of different levels of representation: painterly found objects, 3D renderings, reproductions, vector graphics, painting and free brush gestures form a collage-like visual language into paintings, collages, 3D animations.

Is a brushstroke a free gesture or does it represent something? What space is there in a painted surface? Do color space and object space differ? What dimension of time is hidden in a brushstroke? What does it look like inside an object? What is the relationship between body and surface?

In »Contingencies« virtual translations of such painting fragments as spatial and planar 3D painting objects with animations react to the approach of the user. Each picture element was translated into sound, which is spatially related to the object. In this way, an individual image and sound collage is created when the user moves. The users are thus participatively involved in the image production and can experiment interactively and in scalable dimensions with compositions that can be saved as screenshots via the app.

The app can be freely downloaded from the Appstore and Playstore, and the marker is available as a postcard and poster: In this way, different contextualizations are possible in the interaction with the site-specific environment of the user:s and the perception for the surrounding reality is sharpened on a purely pictorial level.

The work invites to abandon the conditioned safe distance to painting and its localization in the exhibition context, questioning one’s own concept of world appropriation and perception of reality.

Concept and 3D animations: Maja Rohwetter
Sound: Tuomo Väänänen
App development: Artvisity, Aachen
Consulting on AR media production, conception and marker design: Dagmar Schürrer, AURORA School for ARtists


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2022, AR-Audio-Walk
Supporting Developers: Katrina Rizakova and Dagmar Schürrer

Sublimation is a unique speculative science fiction that, through sound and visual images, expresses the worldview of the symbiotic, plant-like creature, reflecting on the matters of climate change and living together on the planet Earth. The audio walk unfolds the perspective of »the other« – a symbiotic and mutualistic creature that cohabitates with humans through interdependence. Creating possible worlds and futures in which we may imagine new modes of living together are crucial for changing the way in which humans interact with the environment around us on af daily basis.


Elektra, Screen shot on location
Elektra, Screen shot on location
Elektra, Landmark Elektropolis Schöneweide Berlin
Peter Sandhaus: Elektra
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AR simulation of the new landmark for Berlin-Oberschöneweide
Supporting developer: Elisabeth Thielen

The Lichtgestalt ELEKTRA by Peter Sandhaus emerged as the winner of the open art competition for a landmark on the square at Kaisersteg in Berlin-Oberschöneweide. Advertised by the Industrial Salon Schöneweide in cooperation with the Treptow-Köpenick district, this is the construction project currently in the preliminary design phase. The small wind power plant integrated into the artwork is being developed in cooperation with Prof. Jochen Twele of FB 1 Renewable Energies at the HTW.

The new landmark for Oberschöneweide is an embodiment of electrical energy. It is in the tradition of the famous AEG signet from 1888. This represents the “goddess of light”, who hovers casually on the winged wheel of progress. Her dynamic pose is not fully balanced. She seems to be still in motion and has only just turned towards the viewer. Curvaceous and sensuously exhilarating – her hair as if under electric power – she illuminates the night. Her promise of salvation is enlightenment in the form of electric light. The message of this allegory is clear: From now on, electricity and light are an inseparable unit and can be equated with progress.

The new landmark inherits both its name ELEKTRA and its dramatic appearance as a figure of light. As a contemporary interpretation, however, it is not allegorical or illustrative. The new appearance is constructive and abstract. Nevertheless, this Lichtgestalt ELEKTRA also heralds the beginning of a new era. It combines the tradition of the electronics industry in Schöneweide with a departure signal for a renewed Electropolis, characterized by regenerative energy generation, smart electromobility and electronically virtual networking.

In collaboration with the AURORA production lab, an augmented reality app was developed to enable the experience of the building as a real-time simulation prior to implementation on site. In this way, the proportions and the urban planning effect of the 34meter high tower can be clearly experienced. The app is also intended to improve the participation of citizens in the run-up to the construction project, fueling the imagination of the people in Schöneweide and discussions about the project.

Text: Peter Sandhaus and Elisabeth Thielen

About the artist:

Peter Sandhaus makes art in public space. He always firmly believes in the opportunity to construct meaning and significance on site. The artist, who is trained as an architect, has already won several competitions. In 2017 the Stadionwelle was realized in Erfurt and last year his Antikörper was finished at the Regensburg University Hospital. He is currently responsible for the planning of the electrifying landmark Lichtgestalt ELEKTRA in Schöneweide in the immediate vicinity of HTW Berlin.


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reflective colour on cloth

Supporting developer: Denise Bischof

Graphics, electronic music, singing, media art, painted clothing – the multifaceted artistic work of Phyllis Josefine alias dvdv (pronounced “dada”) merges to its own synaesthetic and interactive cosmos, in which one cant start to immersive himself by visiting her self-programmed website. Through her love of experimentation between the analog and the digital world, the artist is effectively predestined for augmented reality, through which she can bundle all her creative output in a multi-layered work.

Clothing worn in the dark plays a key role in Josefine’s AR art. It makes you think of dance floors, club armchairs and bars, in the shade of which you can be as good as you are or how you want to be, where freedom and individualism manifest not least in the form of – sometimes extravagant or even artistic – clothing. At the same time, shadows blur contours and facial features, the analog reality becomes visually more difficult to detect. In this context, Josefine brings clothes to a new, virtual life. She paints three coats with specially developed reflective textile paint. Since AR works only in good light conditions, the smart-phone-internal flashlight is turned on and held onto the painting with the help of a script. The marker then reflects the incident light into the dark environment – an effect that is superimposed in the AR application by particle effects and shapes that can be created and adapted in Unity. In addition, the markers trigger large-scale animations and sounds. To trigger different events, a timer has been programmed, which records the duration and the position of the marker and displays different virtual elements accordingly. Likewise, various simultaneously detected markers may interact to trigger different events, giving a playful form of interactivity.

Reinforced by the darkness, which literally absorbs the real space, the clothing unfolds through AR to another, but now virtual shell, partly surrounding the human beings wearing them, partly floating along like a shell of individual visuals and tracks from the artist’s unpublished EP What is the opposite of ambivalence. But it also seems as if the artist’s cosmos is being transferred to the three-dimensional, in order to play on an infinite digital space and share it with those present. Materiality takes a step back in favor of Josephine’s intellectual creation, which appears as an ephemeral spectacle, putting viewers in a trance of light and music.

Unity’s implemented particle effects were customised and used to accomplish this goal. In order to play different animations and sounds, we implemented a timer which tracks the duration and position of a marker in relation to the device’s screen and acts accordingly. Different markers which are tracked at the same time can also invoke different events, which gives the user a playful form of interaction.

Text: Maja Stark and Denise Bischof

About the artist:

Phyllis Josefine aka dvdv is a media-artist, musician and autodidact who seldom limits herself to one medium. Initially focusing on experimental video and graphics, she began producing and singing music in 2014 and designing her own clothes-paintings.

In 2017 she developed her own interactive website for her debut album with the alias dvdv. She was involved in the creation of the smart movie The Future Is Not Unwritten by Susanne Steinmassl, an endless, self-generating film about transhumanism and artificial intelligence.

Phyllis’ works have been published in numerous online magazines including NOWNESS, The Creators, FELT ZINE, AQNB and The Golden Boy Press. The Future Is Not Unwritten was exhibited at the Goethe Institute in Japan, SXSW in Texas and the MCBW – Munich Creative Business Week.


Robert Seidel, Symbolbild
Robert Seidel, Symbolbild
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Augmented Reality Sculpture

Supporting Developer: André Selmanagić

The virtual AR sculpture GLACIER spans the entire earth like a giant glacier. The folded, sculptural shape is based on the GPS coordinates of the device and the map information derived from it. As you walk through, you can see that the sculpture is initially anchored in local reality, but that you leave it behind with each step. In this way, you can step through an inverted world in “seven-mile steps”, but start again in the immediate vicinity with every restart. There are no visual AR markers, GLACIER only consists of the geolocation data and the movement patterns of the user. In an abstract form, the context of a global world is highlighted, in which every movement and information leads to far-reaching traces and reactions.

From a technological viewpoint, the sculpture is assembled from real buildings close to the user’s geo-position. The building information – their locations, orientations and shapes in the form of 3D meshes – is retrieved from the mapping service MapBox. When the user moves, her movements change the shape of the sculpture. The assembly of the sculpture follows a complicated algorithm, which approximately works like this: The user’s movement is mapped onto a cross-like shape that travels over the flat map of buildings. This shape is then folded into a cube of buildings – the sculpture -, in which the user resides. As the cross (unfolded cube) moves over the map the contents of the six sides change continously. Because of that each side of the cube must be able to show the buildings of multiple map patches and thus is actually four times its visible size. The resulting 3D object in turn looks like a cube with extended sides or a 3D hash sign (see image X). To turn this object back into a normal cube, the overlapping areas of the sides are cut off visually using a special cutting shader.

About the artist: (mit weitere AR-Filtern des Künstlers)


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New York, New York

Augmented reality poster series

Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

” … last summer I finally wanted to tackle something new. At the same time, I had always been fascinated by New York and had planned my first trip there. So I thought it would be nice to visualize the city in a new way,” Sarah Müller describes. She had posters in mind that would go in the direction of illustration – but nothing more was decided when she boarded the plane bound for JFK Airport in October 2019, equipped with a notebook, camera and travel guide.

30 days were planned – enough time to explore all the districts of the metropolis and record impressions in notes, sketches and photos. “On the trip I got a lot of inspiration. I found it exciting that things are completely different live than you imagined them to be. I had a completely different view of the city because I was there for the first time and for so long,” says the communication designer.

Since she had already been intensively visually engaged with New York before the trip, Müller looked at everything very closely on site – details such as street markings, the colors of the different neighborhoods or architecture: “The diversity, the people, colors, shapes, street art, I was extremely aware of everything over this long period of time and was able to compare the neighborhoods.”

Back in Berlin, Sarah Müller took her project to a new level with augmented reality. Her application needed to be able to do more than play animations. “I thought it was too simple. People expect more than a typo like this to rotate, they already know that”, Müller said. In addition, the planned posters were to be combined with 3D objects and various interaction options.

In March 2020, she started the implementation with Leonid Barsht – because of Corona, the collaboration was exclusively remote, but very productive. In the final application, for example, you can interact with enchanting visuals; elements can be wiped away and redrawn, there are various 3D objects to scale, and all layers can be moved. For example, one of Sarah Müller’s posters abstracts a bird’s eye view of the familiar city canyons. You can see floor plans on which 3D models of skyscrapers in bright colors can be placed and resized.

In this way, the city can be reinterpreted and experienced in a new way – through an interactive app that merges analog and digital design.

What happens next is still written in the stars. Actually, Müller had a place as a freelancer in a New York design office from September 2020. “Now I’m not allowed to enter at all. But maybe it will work out later,” the designer says – and is already planning to continue the series in other cities.


The application New York, New York by Sarah Müller was awarded the Red Dot Award for Communication Design 2020 and is part of the free app INKA AR, under which other AURORA results can also be found.

The beautiful AR posters on New York are available for purchase in Sarah Müller’s online store.

PAGE Magazine 11.20 published a detailed article on New York, New York including an AR tutorial by Leonid Barsht, from which we have quoted passages here: “Colours of New York”, in: PAGE Magazine, 11/2020 (end of September), pp. 60-68.


Forcing Tuesday
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augmented acrylic painting
110 x 200 cm
Supporting developer: Elisabeth Thielen

The large-format acrylic painting Cutting Sunday by Felix Kraus is part of a whole series of contemporary interiors, reduced in colour and sometimes so boldly shaped in their composition that they recall the artistic cosmos of M. C. Escher. Kraus is always showing only a part of a world, which is deserted of humans and furniture alike, and in which sharp-edged concrete, shivering water surfaces and intentionally set light sources evoke a Kafka-like mood. The skilful naturalistic reproduction of the only supposedly really existing interiors, stands in a long art-historical tradition. In the work of
media artist Felix Kraus, who often appears as an incarnation of his own Swan Collective, it is however not the end result, but rather the starting point of a multi-layered creative process using digital tools. Recently this process culminated in the virtual reality work Here we are from 2018: elements of his analogue paintings, which are simultaneously restricting and spacious, are condensed into an
appealing and disturbing 360° interior architecture, in which you have to find your way around – a casual yet convincing voice from the off does not necessarily contribute to finding orientation.
The voice suggests that you are nothing more than the intellectual creation of the speaker, an artificial intelligence. The art of deception is operated on a high literary-philosophical level – the virtual space mutates into Plato’s cave.

It is difficult to adequately represent movements, and, as a result, the temporal dimension in painting – The Act Descending a Staircase No. 2 by Marcel Duchamp from 1912 is probably the most famous testimony to an artistic examination of this problem: the painter dismembers the movement into static sequences, which are simultaneously present on the canvas. Just over one hundred years later, digital technology offers new possibilities: using Augmented Reality, Felix Kraus extends his acrylic painting Cutting Sunday and adds a temporal layer by superimposing the interior architecture with light and shadow movements / animations.

In order to achieve this effect Felix Kraus recreated one of his paintings as a 3D scene with the help of image-based modelling in Cinema4D. After importing it to Unity, this scene now appears whenever users scan his painting with the matching AR application. The almost ghostly effect of lights and shadows moving over the walls of the 3D scene is achieved by using a Unity shader that simulates the movements of light sources outside of the rooms. These light sources then either lighten up or darken the respective textures of the inner walls.

Text: Maja Stark und Elisabeth Thielen

About the artist:

Felix Kraus is the initiator of the Swan Collective and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the Karlsruhe School of Design. He received the scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. The Swan Collective mixes different techniques such as virtual and augmented reality, painting, paper embossing, literature and performance.
Works of the collective have been exhibited in institutions such as the Stuttgart Art Museum, the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in São Paulo, W139 in Amsterdam, the Kunstmuseum Aalen,
the Kunsthalle Schweinfurt or the Goethe Institut in Toronto. In addition, Felix Kraus has participated in various screenings and exhibitions as a member of the Swan Collective, including London, Berlin,
Hamburg, Bolzano, Athens and Tokyo. He was awarded the first prize for his films at the LOOP Festival Barcelona and the Ludwigsburg Film Festival.


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augmented room installation
500 x 325 cm

Supporting developer: André Selmanagić

Theresa Reiwer’s AR work TOVIAS is part of a narrative space specially built by the artist. The narrative of the immersive installation is advertised by the fictitious WELCOME HOME company in painfully sharpened marketing jargon as a smart home prototype of the SLOW ROOMS series. The fiction is accredited by a differentiated corporate identity, website and social media appearances as well as by print brochures in which one reads: “It does not matter whether it is about the choice of the music during dinner, the picture hanging in the hall or the right light mood: your Ambience Enhancer already knows what you need before you know it.”

The theatre guest is invited to live in this story for a trial: for 20 to 30 minutes, the Smart Home may be tested in absolute isolation. The fact that the apartment is entered alone intensifies the entire experience and the “certified relaxation tools” of the new home can be highly individualized. The latest feature of SLOW ROOMS is the TOVIAS package. The name stands for “Tool for Virtual Associate”, an add-on that should breathe life into the Smart Home. Experienced with appropriate technology, TOVIAS ensures that you never feel alone in a SLOW ROOM – unless you want it. It can be switched on and off at the push of a button, and adds, so the brochure, all the positive effects of community, without the disadvantages. Within Reiwer’s installation the viewer can empirically explore, whether the basic human need for society is really so easy to satisfy: using a HoloLens the viewer perceives a ghost-like AR avatar, that goes about his everyday occupations in the apartment as matter of fact.

The pastel colours of the corporate design of WELCOME HOME can only superficially whitewash a dystopia, in which self-optimization constraints and an unreflective enthusiasm for technology are the focus, and in which the supposedly trusted home mutates into an externally determined isolation cell. The work of Theresa Reiwer thus stands in a long tradition of not so unrealistic visions of the future, ranging from George Orwell’s 1984, to July Zeh’s Corpus Delicti, to the television series Black Mirror. Technological progress in the course of digitalisation is breathtaking – and this can, in the case of a lack of reflection and feedback within the values of a free society and as illustrated by Reiwer’s Narrative Space, be understood quite literally.

Theresa Reiwers application was realized using a Microsoft Hololens which allows for a way higher degree of immersion and hands-free AR. The virtual humanoid flatmate was modelled in 3D using Adobe Fuse and animated with a few basic animations (such as walking, sitting, typing on a smartphone) using the online tool Mixamo. The different animations and thus the different actions of the virtual flatmate are controlled by a utility-based artificial intelligence, known from computer games like the Sims. The flatmate has a set of different needs (hunger, fatigue, boredom, …) of which the variables change constantly because of the passing of time and other actions. The humanoid character always acts on its most prominent need while moving throughout the flat.

Text: Theresa Reiwer, Maja Stark and Elisabeth Thielen

About the artist:

Theresa Reiwer studierte Theater und Film an der Freien Universität Berlin und der Bilgi Üniversitesi in Istanbul. Für ein anschließendes Studium in Bühnen- und Kostümbild an der Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee erhielt sie das Mart Stam Stipendium. Sie arbeitete für die Performance-Gruppe Showcase Beat Le Mot und realisierte mehrere eigene Projekte, etwa im bat-Studiotheater in Berlin und im Gauß-Theater Hamburg. Der Spielfilm Jibril, für den sie das Produktionsdesign entwarf, wurde im Rahmen der offiziellen Auswahl der Berlinale 2018 gezeigt und erhielt den Preis des Studio Hamburg als “Bester Film”. Als Fotografin hat sie Arbeiten in Gruppenausstellungen gezeigt und Music Artwork gestaltet. Als Lichtdesignerin realisierte sie darüber hinaus mehrere Multimedia-Installationen. Derzeit befasst sie sich mit digitaler Medienkunst einschließlich Augmented Reality.


Marker Ulrike Schmitz
The lizards are not what they seem
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augmented ink jet print
60 x 40 cm

Supporting developer: Leonid Barsht

Since the dawn of science man has been using images, graphics and models to underpin theories and propose theses. Not only since the perfection of digital image processing are “fake views” (quotation) powerful tools for inadvertent as well as purposeful construction of reality. In the visual arts, this construction has been deliberately pursued since antiquity, for example to demonstrate the technical virtuosity of artists and the deceptiveness of the human eye. In science, however, every graphically proven thesis is accompanied by a claim to truth that is in strong contradiction to deliberate deception. Here, this is not a well-prized trick, but a taboo that violates the ethic of science and falsifies the search for truth up to its ideological concealment.

The artist Ulrike Schmitz deals with the boundaries between scientific and ideological visualizations in her AR work The lizards are not what they seem. In the work she draws on two very different reality narrators, whose theses both revolve around the question of the genetic determination of the human: On the one hand the Viennese zoologist Paul Kammerer (1880–1926), who at the beginning of the 20th century conducted research on the feuersalamander and ultimately wanted to prove with manipulated photographs, that our genes can be changed by social circumstances. On the other hand the British conspiracy theorist David Icke (* 1952), who tries to underpin the existence of so-called Lizard People using questionable footage. According to Icke, humanity is a subjugated breed of these reptilian aliens. Celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth, George W. Bush or the Clintons are, according to Icke, all Lizard People – a theory that 4% of the population believe in the US.

As contrasted in a Petri dish and magnified microscopically, the artist shows two mask-like human head models that seem to float away from a blue-washed solution. A cell-like structure on the lower right edge of the picture reinforces the impression of a sinister microbiological experiment. The greenish fluorescent profile in the background seems to be undergoing a metamorphosis to the lizard – the outline is as though drawn by an invisible hand, but not yet completely filled. Or is the subsequently supplemented line only the manipulated proof of lizard-being? Anyone who researches the Lizard People Theory of David Icke and its references to the surroundings of Barack Obama will find the outlined profile in the accompanying iconography.

Through Augmented Reality, the front mask is set in motion and shows up like a 3D-sculpture seen from different perspectives. It seems as if it were the modelled precursor of a scientific breeding or even a mutation to – to quote Icke – a “reptilian race”. Not least, a proven rule of thumb can be derived with regard to the central issue: Supposed racial characteristics will always remain an unmistakable feature for distinguishing between deception and truth, between ideology and science.

Of particular importance in the context of technical AR development was the constant change of the elements to be augmented with regard to their position, rotation and size. Initially, animation within Unity seemed to be the best solution. Ultimately, however, it was more useful to implement reusable code to modify the named properties. In the form of various scripts, this code is assigned to the individual elements to be augmented. For instance, this makes it possible to quickly set which axis and how fast an element should rotate.

Text: Maja Stark and Leonid Barsht

About the artist:

Ulrike Schmitz lives in Berlin. After completing her law degree and doctorate, she graduated from the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie in Berlin in 2012. She is currently working on her thesis in the postgraduate Master’s program Art in Context under Prof. Dr. Heiser at the University of the Arts Berlin. In her artistic works she deals with phenomena of science and their interaction with social structures and valuations.

In 2015 she was invited to the five-year global exhibition project reGeneration3 of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland and in 2016 to PLAT(T)FORM of the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland. In 2018 she participated in the residency program of WINZAVOD Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow. In 2019, she was part of The Unlearning Place during the opening days of The New Alphabet at HKW in Berlin. Her works have been exhibited extensively in Germany and internationally, such as the Benaki Museum in Athens, the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City, Lishui Art Museum galleries in China, Art Foundation metamatic: taf in Athens and the Museum De Buitenplaats in Groningen, Netherlands.