Augmented Humanities Practice
October 9, 2014
At the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts, Professor Victoria Szabo will be discussing “augmented reality systems as a way to place historical and cultural annotations in dialog with real-world spaces on the one hand, and with historic and/or critical texts on the other.” She will be offering as case studies Wired! Lab research on Venice, Italy, and Durham, North Carolina. The complete conference schedule can be viewed here.
This paper explores the implications of location-based and marker-based augmented reality for digital humanities practice, focusing on augmented reality systems as a way to place historical and cultural annotations in dialog with real-world spaces on the one hand, and with historic and/or critical texts on the other. Working from case studies in art and cultural history in Venice, Italy and Durham, NC, the paper will draw upon the idea of the hypermedia archive as activated in the context of user experience of space, both physical and virtual, via technologies of location and viewing customized to the spatio-temporal moment of interaction. Reflecting upon notions of hypermedia access as imagined by Vannevar Bush, JCR Licklider, Ted Nelson, Douglas Englebardt, Bill Aitkenson and their successors, as well by digital archivists, multimodal art installations, psychogeographic practictioners, and alternate-reality gamers, this paper suggests that the annotation of physical and virtual space through augmented reality technologies offers a step forward toward the goal of reproducible, yet open-ended, trails of association, to be understood not only in terms of the text or image on the page or screen, but also the surface of the material world itself, and back again.