Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

facecanto (2012)

“Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate.”
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

- Canto 3, Line 9 of Dante’s Inferno

Documentation of our 2nd AR assignment can be viewed here and our source footage can be viewed here.

Augmented reality, by blending the virtual and the real, results in spaces that simply cannot exist in the physical world. Through our project, Facebook is induced in a augmented space to encapsulate many of the concepts presented in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities by perpetuating a space in which virtual communication is encouraged, bypassing physical interaction. In our project,   facecanto  , virtual space slowly consumes physical space, inducing a feeling of alienation.

One of the concepts dealt with in Invisible Cities is that of desires: both those unfulfilled and those better left unfulfilled. Social networking systems like Facebook superficially meet the most basic need for human contact, while at the same time leaving the user with a feeling of spiritual and emotional emptiness.

Towards the end of Invisible Cities, Calvino points out that the reasons we use for creating invisible cities stems from a confrontation with what he calls “the inferno of the living” (165), which in itself recalls Dante’s Inferno. The Inferno of Dante is itself an elaborate architectural construction through which the protagonist descends level by level, as though through an inverted building, to the lowest point, which allows him to pass through into Purgatory. Since Dante’s Inferno is not the terminus, but the first leg of his protagonist’s journey, it is differentiated from Calvino’s concept of the inferno, in that Calvino’s inferno is an end result.

Calvino explains that “there are two ways to escape suffering the inferno.” (165) The first is to just “accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it.” (165) The second is riskier and demands “constant vigilance and apprehension.” (165) In this process, Calvino advises that we “seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure and give them space”. (165) Our project, through dialectical engagement, entices the spectator to enter Facebook, and thus experience the inferno, causing the world around the user to alter into a hellish cacophony of noise, colour, and visual/aural over-stimulation. Through the AR headgear, we hope to provide the spectator with a vision of the inferno so that once it is removed (s)/he will see reality itself as that which endures and give into to its sense of space and wonder. In other words, in order to escape the inferno, the user must choose to log out or learn to “like” it.

- Clint Enns, Chris Alton, Jan Benes

Tue, January 31 2012 » futurecinema2_2012