De-hyped Reality

I´m a big fan of the all-time classic Domestic Robocop and his latest work on hyper-reality, but until now just didn´t make it to mention Keiichi Matsuda´s new short. So, despite you should know it by now, I want to share it here, too!

Keiichi discusses the impact of omnipresent and overwhelming digital technology and how it weaves into our regular lives with no escape. Are we still in charge or did we already turn into peasants that blindly follow the recommendations and virtual goodies we get augmented?

His previous and famous work Domestic Robocop was created six years ago but is still an often quoted classic. It briefly shows a daily situation (cooking a tea) before leaving the appartment. In this short Keiichi already presented a lot of ideas that are becoming matter of discussion these days: how do we interact with the virtual objects (gestures) or how can I switch from an augmented to a virtual world seamlessly? The world being full of ads is another dystopian aspect that is likely to become reality…

His latest work is a longer film that tells the story of a Colombian lady, starting off into her every-day. Again, the world is augmented with loads of ads or information panels floating around. Keiichi does not show how he envisions the hardware but we can guess it´s supposed to be the “perfect” AR goggle set. He intentionally let´s the tracking shake a bit and adds some static and noise to the augmented overlay. We follow the protagonist in first-person again.

Visually it´s the same well done fun again – but way more elaborate and bigger. You can imagine that shooting in Colombian city Medellín and editing took much more time. But now without further spoilers the clip:

At first, it´s another very funny video to laugh at. But sadly, I believe there is so much truth in it that we must stop giggling. Look at today´s people in a bus: they are already absorbed by their devices completely. They would love to go one step further to jump into a virtual bubble for the time of the boring ride (with other boring human beings you don´t want to interact with). Gamification of chores, collecting achievements, using reward systems and navigational support for our lives has become so normal that all these shown aspects are just a logical next step. New is only the way it gets presented to us. If everything would really be interconnected, e.g. showing bubbles with names and descriptions over people´s heads, we could easily reach that scenario. Looking at the social networks and even the Russian face-recognition tools that hit the media during last year, we see that it´s all not that far off.

Definitely the big players could adopt the idea of funding it all through ads (well, they all do it today likewise) and tracking their users to an unbelievable extent will happen, too – with the people granting access willingly to desperately get their new glasses cheaper.

Sure, tracking, visual overlay, glasses hardware and interoperability is not there yet… but let´s see how long we keep laughing about it… Maybe in another six years we already wave away ads and follow our scripted life by looking at augmented arrows on the floor…

Be sure to check out Keiichi´s page and support him for his continued work!