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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.