Future Cinema

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

Questions for “Augmented Human”

Thanks everyone for the lovely chat last week and hope everyone has a great reading week! Here are my questions from last week.

1. When describing his mixed AR Theatre company, Kreindlin asserts that “Everything is a balancing act…If you get carried away with the technology, you’ll have a bad production.” Thinking of artistic applications of AR, Manovich’s data dense augmented space, and of the upcoming Toronto concert involving the hologram of Roy Orbison, what do you think are the key parts of maintaining “a balance”? What are the aspects being balanced against each other? What are the main thoughts that an artist or designer using AR should keep front of mind?

2. Early forms of cybernetics, keyed by the theorist Norbert Weiner (The Human Use of Human Beings; Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine), centred largely on keeping the “man-in-the-middle” of technology as a way of enhancing the human with technological extensions (Katherine Hayles, in How We Became PostHuman, gives a very useful history of the Macy Conference and early cybernetics). While this early history was largely centred around military applications, much closer to a transhumanism than posthumanism, this dynamic of human-master and machine-tool has persisted through much of the discussion of AR (she characterizes it as a tool repeatedly, under human “control” (another word she uses often)). What do you think are the benefits of approaching technologies like AR as tools are? What might be some of the downfalls of a human-centric “man-in-the-middle” approach?

3. The two keys words that seem to consistently reoccur, as ways of describing the goals of future AR development, according to Papgiannis, are “immersion” and “personalization.” What do you think is gained by using technology to “immerse” a user into another world? What is gained by personalizing that immersion? What are the dangers?

I suppose this questions springs from my own suspicions about immersing the user (as a way of unbalancing biological-technological aspects of a healthy posthuman) and why there seems to be this obsession with making a “real” alternate world (a bit like Bazin’s Myth of Total Cinema). I am also deeply suspicious about treating the body, and existence, as a set of data sets to mine; not only am I concerned about who is doing what with that data (and all the joy that come with the capitalism of complete datafication) but also, along side the obsession with a “real” feeling immersion, the obsession with making the human a perfect being, transcending (the singing hologram who never misses a note)

4. Norman Klein, in The Vatican to Vegas, is suspicious of special effects (digital and analogue) as having placating qualities (to bring “fear under control” (45); as endless capitalism (47); as ways of making real disasters spectacle (and therefore disarming them); as general distraction of the masses, just to name a few examples). Is calm technology a special effect? (Papagiannis, 107) What benefits and dangers might it hold, especially given Klein’s assertions. Who decides what is a distraction needing removing? Who watches the watchmen?

I guess this questions is also a general reaction to the sort of techno-utopianism of the Papagiannis book in general…that tech (and AR) and can solve all problems…with the most human-centric solutions and forward paths…

Fri, October 5 2018 » Future Cinema, augmented reality, books, emerging technologies, surveillance » No Comments » Author: Aaron

HASTAC information


Changing the Way We Teach and Learn
HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is an interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists changing the way we teach and learn. Our 16,000+ members from over 400+ affiliate organizations share ideas, news, tools, research, insights, pedagogy, methods, and projects–including Digital Humanities and other born-digital scholarship–and collaborate on various HASTAC initiatives.

Founded in 2002, HASTAC is reputed to be the world’s first and oldest academic social network with annual pageview counts approaching the half-million mark. HASTAC is governed by a dynamic, interdisciplinary Steering Committee. Go here to learn more about current leadership.

HASTAC’s leadership and administration is shared between hubs located at Arizona State University and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Learn more about HASTAC’s leadership and administration here.


HASTAC 2019 conference proposals due!

“Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education”
Unceded Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Territory
UBC Vancouver
16-18 May 2019

HASTAC Scholars applications due!

Thu, October 4 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Caitlin

A couple of my questions were already asked in class so no one really missed anything.

  1. On the television show, Caprica a young girl is killed in a terrorist explosion, but her avatar – exactly like her – lives on in cyberspace. When her grieving father discovers this, he tries to have her downloaded into a mechanical body. Meanwhile a group of religious fanatics – the ones who caused the explosion – want to use these identical avatars to create a digital heaven for after their physical bodies die.

    a) What happens to our concepts of death and loss?

    b) What happens to our concepts of religion and the afterlife?

    c) What happens to cultures world wide when the glue of a faith no longer holds communities together?

  2. Is it enough to make poverty appear to go away instead of dealing with the issues that cause it?

  3. After seeing the concept video in class,

    a) How does someone prevent an unwanted person from accessing their personal data?

    b) Should laws be put into place?

    c) Should social media have a safeguard that lets you decide who of the people you meet at any given time can view your information?

    d) Or is this a good way to know if the person you just met has a criminal record?

  4. Are we becoming desensitized to having cameras all over recording us?

Wed, October 3 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Tom

More Questions From”Augmented Human,” for Consideration

1. Papagiannis says that we are in the second phase of AR, what she calls “entryway” (the first being “overlay”). What do you think the third wave will be? Can we even predict it?

2. Papagiannis says AR will help us connect more directly to our real experience and senses. At the same time, she believes that the medium has the potential to create impossible realities (i.e. ghost stories). Is there a conflict between these two conceptualizations of AR, or are they compatible?

3. Papagiannis describes a number of technologies that can create AR avatars of people that can live forever. Would you want yourself preserved in an AR avatar? How would this change the way we view death, and the ways in which we grieve?

4. AR, Papagiannis says, is “rooted” in cinema. What other forms of media does AR draw from?

Wed, October 3 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Andre


hi everyone – apologies, but comments are not loading properly … even though I’ve approved them. Probably safest to post comments as separate messages until I figure it out (sorry).

Wed, October 3 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Caitlin

Questions From”Augmented Human,” for Consideration

Not entirely certain if this is the place to post these, or if it is too late to do so. I figured I would like to share what I was most deeply concerned with from the text in preparation for today’s class.

  1. In Augmented Human, Papagiannis discusses how the use of UltraHaptics can stimulate the hand to develop emotions? Trying to have a postitive focus on this, how could this technology be used to benefit humankind?
  2. How is ARs use of sensors and monitors similar to that of mechanical support systems, such as ABS and anti-crash braking in cars? Do potential similarities suggest that we are becoming increasingly machine like?
  3. A fair portion of Papagiannis’ examples and case studies cite the importance of immersion in terms of their emerging technology. Why does immersion remain such a selling point in terms of AR, VR, and future cinema technologies?
  4. AR as described in the initial conceptual chapters by Papagiannis seems to be most focused with regulating human flaws and conditions. At what point does constant sensorial regulation cease to be helpful and instead supersedes human responsibility?
  5. Robert Azuma is quoted as saying, “not all stoires have to be written by professional storytellers aimed at a mass market audience,” in relation to ARs potential. To what extent is AR and similarly VR better suited to being an art project over a mass commercial medium? To what extent is it better suited to being a commercial medium?
  6. Suppose you are a High School teacher of a subject of your choosing. How do you think AR would alter the way you teach? Would AR in an educational context be better suited to STEM subject, or humanities?

Wed, October 3 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Thomas

Skawennati and Jason Edward Lewis Talk – Lia and Aaron

Hi everyone! Here is the brief show and tell Lia and I did last class on Skawennati and Jason Edward Lewis: http://www.yorku.ca/caitlin/futurecinemas/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/FC-show-and-Tell-pdf-Skawennati-and-JEL.pdf

This website still looks weird, even as I sign into the backend, so please forgive any janky parts of this post!

Caitlin’s edit: try this –

Sun, September 30 2018 » emerging technologies, narrative, talks » No Comments » Author: Aaron

Came Back Haunted

A theory-fiction about augmented reality gone rogue… (more…)

Wed, December 6 2017 » assignments, augmented reality, emerging technologies, games, narrative, scary, student work, surveillance » No Comments » Author: sRoberts

AR- new access points to not-so-new stories?

with AR we will need to shift from a dependence on the technology alone to wow audiences, and toward cultivating captivating experiences and stories to evoke wonderment. This is a critical time to be exploring the capacity for storytelling in AR, as Grau writes, before the jeopardy of any staleness arises.
Papagiannis, Helen. Augmented Human: How Technology Is Shaping the New Reality (Kindle Locations 1633-1636). O’Reilly Media. Kindle Edition.

“…with AR we will need to shift from a dependence on the technology alone to wow audiences, and toward cultivating captivating experiences and stories to evoke wonderment. This is a critical time to be exploring the capacity for storytelling in AR, as Grau writes, before the jeopardy of any staleness arises.”

I see that what AR claims as “new ways of telling stories” are, in most cases,”wow” ways to access stories that are actually not so new when technology itself is the objective. Objects or spaces, which are supposed to be just sitting quietly in front of you, react and throw stories at you from the air. I wonder if the fundamental of what story is can be affected or challenged by AR.

Fri, December 1 2017 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: kyokoma

On “haunted” and “weird” media…

From Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation (2013) by Alexander R. Galloway, Eugene Thacker, and McKenzie Wark…

Whereas haunted media expressed the mediation of the supernatural in positive terms, with weird media mediation only indicates a gulf or abyss between two ontological orders. Sometimes the supernatural is present but not apparent (e.g., an invisible creature that never- theless exists within our same reality, but outside the visible spectrum). At other times the supernatural is apparent but not present (e.g., unnamable entities from other dimensions). (133)

To summarize: media are “haunted” when they affirmatively mediate between two different ontological orders, and by trans- forming the object into a divine object (the artifact or the por- tal). By contrast, media are “weird” when they negatively medi- ate between two ontological orders, whereby the object recedes into a thing. (133-134)

Wed, November 29 2017 » books, scary » No Comments » Author: sRoberts