Magic Window!

For this first assignment, I didn’t deviate too far from this course’s title: MAGIC WINDOWS

I thought it would be interesting to try to alter the perception of space to teleport from within the inside of a room. I tried changing the scenery of the outside world by projecting live video feed from Tokyo, onto the inside of a window from my friend’s place in the East Village. After spending all of January hanging around Shibuya, this is the place I wanted to be teleported to the most, so I found this live webcam feed of Shibuya crossing:

https://worldcams.tv/cities/tokyo-shibuya-crossing

and taped white paper onto the glass to project onto:

After tweaking around MadMapper for a bit:

I also thought it would be cool to project the actual street view in the East Village back onto the window, so you could still get the real view of the street while having the window fully covered up and private. I hooked up a webcam to look onto the street corner, and since the night scene matched the lighting on the inside, it looked kind of uncanny; there was some pixelation because I had to blow up the video feed in MadMapper to fit the perspective, but I rather like the effect:

In thinking about integrating these two ideas and about possible futures of mixed reality, I started mocking up what it might look like to have someone call from overseas and have the room transform to that place’s time and atmosphere. Though the clip below doesn’t fully illustrate it, the idea is that when my mum in Tokyo calls, the window would change to the Shibuya crossing scene to heighten the sense of connection – a magic window 🙂

Finally, for a GIF that best fits me, here’s a representation of my beloved cats Uni & Schnitzel in my bed:

Hello // Worlds On A Wire

So happy I finally know how to set up the oculus on my own! This is something that I’ve seen done many times but have been too intimidated to try and seems like a breakthrough! The Rift was surprisingly easy to set up with Haiyi from class- we never got the remote to work, but the controllers were working fine.  At one point, the MSI restarted without warning, and when we booted everything back up, I realized there was no way to skip ahead through the experience to get to the crash point, which would’ve been useful.

I tried a few experiences including, “Dear Angelica”, “Henry”, and Google Earth VR, which were all very different stylistically. The storyline in “Dear Angelica” was so heartfelt, with a subject matter that’s highly personal and relatable at the same time. The aesthetic reminds me of tiltbrush strokes and it was nice to float in space among words. The elements would also fade away if I got too close, which felt really elegant and natural. The tone reminds me of “Notes On Blindness”, both in its narration and illumination of certain parts of the scenes. “Henry”, on the other hand, felt a bit more like a kid’s film was adapted to a VR movie, and I didn’t leave the experience feeling like I fully understood why I was there.  Google Earth VR seems like a natural extension of the browser version- soaring through the tops of buildings was really cool, and the point of view while floating felt hyperreal or game engine-like, especially with the sound effects. Scanning the Earth is conceptually a crazy idea, and beyond its entertainment value I’m sure there are a ton of practical applications for it.  For me though, it holds up as an experience on its own, and the ability to click through to different cities felt like a narrative in its own way.

I read somewhere that VR experiences are stored and last in your memory in the same way that real memories are, and whether or not that’s true, “Dear Angelica” and Google Earth VR are definitely lasting in my mind in a visceral way.  Overall, it was really nice to see a range of experiences, and I feel so much more excited about trying out more, now that setting it up isn’t such a scary thought!