Prototyping AR Cosmologies
I co-taught Prototyping AR Cosmologies with Jessy Escobedo, as the closing workshop for Decolonizing Augmented Reality, a NAVEL Assemblies Laboratory co-led by Jessy Escobedo and Selwa Sweidan. Our workshop syllabus can be found here.
Decolonizing Augmented Reality was a community working group and making lab, offered through an experimental and intersectional feminist lens. Through readings and making, we explored the question “How might we decolonize augmented reality?”. Our culminating workshop further asked: “What is your personal cosmology, origin story, or theory of the universe? What are the relationships or flows between your ancestors, land, animals, plants, other planets, personal objects, atoms, digital space, etc?”
In this closing workshop, we took key takeaways from the readings (Escobar, Massey, Mignalo, Kelly) and engaged in a thinking-feeling-making exercise that tackles our basic inquiry: how we might Decolonize AR? Using our bodies, personal objects, and space at NAVEL, we deconstructed and prototyped our own cosmology and its relationship to others’ in the pluriverse. Through sensory awareness, performance, and the capturing of our own configuration of reality, we took notice of moments of interaction, feelings or relationships — seeing how they do or don’t translate digitally. Finally, we shared and discussed what is being left out and what we wish we could include when we digitize our cosmologies.
We asked participants to record video interpretations of their cosmologies, then placed them into space with Torch AR. We attached each video to a geolocated coordinate inside NAVEL, allowing us to trace the physical and conceptual intersections of each person’s cosmology during our culminating walkthrough. Cosmologies ranged from re-enacting painful memories, to diagramming anxiety, and playing with light and rhythm.