Friday, September 6, 2013

iraq skyline

iraq skyline

Tokyo Tower, Japan

Iraq Skyline (IS) creates an augmented psychogeography experience, similar to the Situationist detournement. Using advanced augmented reality software, it is now possible to create a double wandering, between Baghdad and the viewer’s own neighborhood, anywhere in the world. The result is a double politics as well, uniting and separating viewpoints between cultures that may or may not be in geopolitical tension with each other. 

the viewer's natural surroundings

the realtime iraq skyline

augmented reality technology

iraq skyline
Visually, Iraq Skyline allows people from around the world see the Iraqi sky and sunset as it happens in real time with augmented reality; the Baghdad image becomes overlaid and embedded in the local, neighborhood image of the viewer. 

Anyone in the world can see and hear the Baghdad skyline in a full 360 degrees as it happens, using only a smartphone with an augmented reality app. The work places the viewer in two simultaneous worlds. The viewer’s local landscape - houses, trees, streets, hills – and so forth remain unaltered: but the skyline is that of Baghdad.

As the sky of Bagdad changes, smartphone viewers around the world will witness this in real time; a life feed of the 360 degree sky over Baghdad will appear above and around the user. Two different geographic and political realities are imposed in real time; the Situationist dream of wandering, perhaps everywhere simultaneously, is fulfilled.
One goal of the project would be to have everyone around the world to watch the Iraqi sunset at the same time; locally, then, different peoples would be on at their local times around the clock.

The heavily charged subject matter of the realtime Iraqi landscape will be a jarring contrast with the viewer’s everyday environment.  For most westerners the experience of a completely different culture in relation to their own will be fascinating and instructive. But of course the piece and its meaning is not limited to the west. All people from different cultures may experience the work in realtime
Project organization:

The project is organized simultaneously in New York City and Baghdad. Programming will be done in New York; hardware, webcam operations, and infrastructure will be completed in Baghdad. The webcam will be operable 24 hours a day for at least several month; we will seek further funding during this period to continue its operation, if Rhizome agrees to this. We also hope to establish webcams in other areas of geographic, political, or cultural interest around the world.

Extensions of the work: Augmented reality has the potential for incredibly powerful cross-cultural experiences. Eventually it should be possible to set up a network of webcams and viewers, all intersecting and interacting with each other, so that people might be able to see, speak, and hear each other as well, on a more intimate basis. This can only help create bridges across cultures, and as smartphones become less and less expensive, this technology will be available to increasing classes of people. Think of the Baghdad piece as a first but critical step in the development of this.

Our current team members are located in Tunisia, the United States, and Iraq; we hope to expand this database into real international participation.

The work lets the viewers have a globally unified experience.

The work draws attention to varying political realities world-wide, and the potential for networking these realities.

Project team--

Mark Skwarek
Diyar Azad Omer
Alan Sondheim
Wafa Bourkhis

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