Real & Virtual Worlds — Review Week #6

3 min readApr 19, 2021


This week’s selection of review content includes:

  • The Aesthetics of Liminality: Augmentation as Artform by Patrick Lichty, pages 325–336 from Leonardo (Volume 47 Issue 4, 2014)
  • Augmented Reality Art: From an Emerging Technology to a Novel Creative Medium by Patrick Lichty (Part II Augmented Reality as a Novel Artistic Medium, pages 99–198, 2014)
  • Last Year at the Marienbad (Film directed by Alain Resnais, 1961)

The Aesthetics of Liminality: Augmentation as Artform

Within this extract from Augmented Reality Art: From an Emerging Technology to a Novel Creative Medium, Patrick discusses the rise in augmented reality into being perceived as a form of art with the developmental progression from goggles to handheld devices.

Lichty defines this further with the five categories of augumentation of:

  • Fiducial
  • Planar
  • Locative/GPS
  • Environmental
  • Embodied/Wearable

Firstly, Fiducial is the most traditional in the sense that it was one of the earliest forms of AR and uses a marker to determine where to placed objects or conjure the experience within the space. This form of tracking allows for the content to be placed in 3-space (XYZ orientation, pitch, roll and yaw). As an example of this being applied, Vladimir introduces the Miku Miku Dance application. This involves the fictional anime character of Hatsune Miku dancing where the marker cards are placed.

Secondly, Planar followed suit and is similar within its ability to replicate the experience upon a surface. However, it is more used for projecting an overlay of an image onto flat surfaces as the name suggests. An example named is with an AR cover produced by Esquire Magazine which allowed for the user to change Robert Downey Jr’s pose such as lounging on his side.

Furthermore, Environmental, or otherwise known as Spatial Recognition, is a progression of the first two categories as it is able to recognise a space from a given point of view. However, the main drawbacks from this is that there can be complications dependant on the perspective change, time of day, weather or surrounding objects or people obscuring the view. Due to these factors, it was only really utilised in indoor environments as these elements could be controlled. An example provided is Hermaton in which the user must roll a red ball through a maze-like machine to switch on the lights in succession and thus activate the system.

Other interesting examples include its use within an application named Archeoguide, which provides users with information surrounding historical sites with one example being the Temple of Hera. The video reconstructs the historic site as it would have been before its destruction.

In continuation, Locative or GPS-Based is one of the most complex forms of AR in that it links the media to real-life points of interest in the landscape and overlays the imagery accordingly. This is commonly used with geographical transnarrative content such as “Virtual Duke and Digital Durham” which utilises Google Earth and AR to reveal reconstructed representations of various sites around Raleigh-Durham. This was similar to Archeoguide but instead simply uses a handheld device to be able to operate. 91411

Augmented Reality Art

The Aesthetics of Liminality: Augmentation as Artform is included as the first section, Chapter 5, within this reading, therefore this review will be for “Chapter 6 Augmented Reality in Art: Aesthetics and Material for Expression” onwards.

Last Year at the Marienbad

This film was produced by a French director, Alan Resnais in 1962 and it’s original title is “L’année dernière à Marienbad”.

This was an interesting but strange watch due to the plot revolving around a man and woman’s relationship but with a twist. However, I found it difficult to engage with fully given the time period and language differences (despite the subtitles), but overall managed to deduce the action taking place .The man, first meets the woman at a spa and is insistant that he has encountered the woman before and claims that they attended the same gathering a year earlier. The events that take place after involve the man trying to “woo” the woman away from her husband and further convince her of his false account of events. I believe this viewing to have been included this week due to its nonlinear style of narrative. The director wasn’t afraid to step away from conventional films and explore a more experimental idea within cinema.