I always think about the saying, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” It is a thought experiment that raises questions about observation and perspective.
“is sound only sound if a person hears it?”
“does observation affect outcome?”
“sound is just the variation of pressure that propagates through matter as a wave”
This forces you to question how subjective things are no matter how objective things seem to be. There is always a perspective and a story being told. There will always be sides regardless of if there should be or not.
As we see things play out in our country, we see the conflict comes from the sides’ conflicting interests.
For the Black Community and all communities of color, the story of the tree falling really encapsulates their experience. If police brutality is rampant in their communities and no one is around to see it, does it really happen?
When that question is posed: it is not for communities of color to respond to, it’s for white communities to respond to. White communities for decades have shielded themselves from the experiences people of color have because of geography and policy. Decades of segregation, laws restricting Black people from owning land, red lining, over policing, etc. The list can go on. That distance has created a narrative of Police brutality as fantasy rather than reality. We are seeing with video and imagery that the assumed fantasy is more grounded than they expected.
The beauty of augmented reality is that you can place things in the real world that does not physically exist. The word augment means to add. So essentially, you are adding things to the real world to make statements about social issues and contextualize experiences. There is enormous power in that, and we see that with every marvel movie we watch. It is all about the experience. Experiencing George Floyd taking his last breath at the hands of police is an experience. Everyone that watches the video is experiencing it very viscerally. That experience has a lasting impact.
Using AR, you can recreate those experience for other things to contextualize the realities and combat that fantasies people have. You can replay all the events of police brutality in AR, you can replay all the events of public lynching’s, you can replay all the events of Slavery. You can experience these events in an immersive way that goes beyond watching a move and you can interact with the elements as if it were a game. It is not a game because AR places the experience in the real world. AR makes the fantasy real.
Check out my free course on Art, Tech, and Activism in Augmented Reality: https://gum.co/OWHaN