Remembering Hollywood’s Future Ecology Through Augmented Reality
UCLA Faculty and IDEAS Platform Technology Director Guvenc Ozel created #liveforever, an augmented reality experience along the trail that leads to the Hollywood Sign.
As a part of “On the Road Project” series, the hike allowed participants to uncover fictional relics from the future through an augmented reality app installed on their mobile devices. Four pedestals, each telling a story about an imaginary yet quintessential Los Angeles personality, served as trackers that called out a particular 3-D models when the participant pointed their mobile device camera toward it. They were be able to observe, reveal and interact with these mythological objects that correspond to possible future stories of Hollywood and Los Angeles urban culture.
The project, revolving around a fictional storyline, allowed for a subversive mode of interaction with nature, where technology mediates between what is visible and what is hidden, what is real and what is virtual, during an activity that is inherently nontechnological.
The digital relics being uncovered give clues about four fictional Los Angeles personalities, The Actress, The Performer, The Surfer, and The Entrepreneur. Each digital object is a part of a larger story that relates all the characters together.
“There are many hearts beating in my chest. Over the many years I have lived, the cultural obsession with the integrity of human body has become my largest emotional problem; it made me suffer multiple episodes of depression. My Chinese and Brazilian mix gene pool was no longer satisfactory. I always wanted to be a tall Scandinavian man. I experimented with that look and I have not found being a male so fulfilling. When I reverted back to being a woman again, I was stuck with the practical limitations of genderbased physiology, considering that I only had two breasts and dozens of newborns to breastfeed. The bioaugmentation was the first option, cloning was the second. I experimented with both. My bodies feel fresh but my mind is exhausted. Now I no longer feel the urgency to take care of all my responsibilities and pleasures on my own. I feel grown enough to not worry about other people’s expectations. My creations should be enough for myselves, my family and my fans.”
The Actress was also known for her accomplishments in botany. Here you will find a flower she designed, which she claimed embodied qualities of her personality. Also the tea from this flower made the consumer hallucinate her award winning masterpiece movie, “The Revenge”. The uncontrollable spread of this flower had created a big environmental disaster for the city of LA, as it proved to be an invasive species, and cost billions in cleanup fees.
“Death is a fundamental part of my work. In my most recent performance at MOMA, where the audience was instructed to murder my clones, I felt a deep affinity for the act of murder. It felt like I was born to experience multiple deaths. I believe that my dead spirits effect the universe in ways that I cannot predict. There’s something aesthetically pleasing about it. Then again, aesthetics is also one of the timeless, fundamental and universal problems of human existence.”
In one of her former collaborations with a material scientist, The Performer created a show at LACMA where she was reading love letters from her deceased lover. Her voice crystallized the smog in the air into floating letters. Although the performance was limited within the airspace of the museum, curious enough, the letters that constituted the word “Hollywood” aggregated toward the historic Hollywood Sign. She was intrigued with this inexplicable phenomenon; that is when she concluded that inanimate objects have consciousness, or some form of it that we call spirit.
“I’m addicted to adrenaline. Or at least the effects of it on my consciousness. I focus on my performance. I do read sometimes if I am convinced that it can improve my capacity to be a better athlete. I read somewhere that there was a thing called art, a cultural paradigm of sorts that came to its logical conclusion sometime in the 20th century, when a bitter Frenchman turned a urinal to its side and labeled it as such. It was a surprisingly a small bit of information. Apparently this was a crippling moment for humans, they were so confused that practical objects had the potential to have euphoric effects (they had to pee). Then again they had no means to instigate adrenaline simulations at will. I would never want to live at such time. I could never have my biologically encoded limitations control the boundaries of my consciousness.”
The Surfer, in collaboration with a AI neuroscientist developed a simulation that allowed him to surf electromagnetic waves of wireless devices. He was addicted to the infinite and unpredictable nature and simultaneous structure of them. He grew to enjoy it more than the ocean.
“I plan to stay alive until the age when people start forgetting my presence. What can I say, I just have more neurons. I need them since being married to 50,000 people on Mindbook requires a lot of time, commitment and responsibilities. Majority of my wealth goes to paying alimonies to those I defriended. My addiction to new friends, relationships, “itscomplicated”s has taken its toll, yet I am still not satisfied. A new person comes with a whole set of surprises, puzzles to solve, pleasures to have and agonies to cry about. How could I trade all that for one person? 21st century must have been such a dark time, where people were forced to commit. Their hunger for an illusion of deep connections must have been their demise. Progress is directly proportionate to the infinity of experiences. Tenuous yet meaningful, temporary yet forever.”
The Businessman was the founder of many things we take for granted, including “Mindbook”, a telepresence social network. Here you will find the remnants of a failed real estate venture he pursued. He at some point took an interest in the design of buildings and wanted to be remembered as an architect. He designed these massive floating gated communities for the cool and rich he was friends with on Mindbook. During construction he lost the financial backing due to his damaged reputation. That was his sixth bankruptcy in 120 years. When he gained financial stability again, he was no longer interested in completing them. To him, the derelict and useless nature of these structures, half progress half decay, were a true form of art.
Bio: Güvenç Özel is an architect, artist and researcher. He is the Technology Director of IDEAS, a multidisciplinary research and development platform in UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, and the principal of Ozel Office, an interdisciplinary design practice located in Los Angeles, USA, working at the intersection of architecture, visual arts, technology and research on urban culture. A native of Izmir, Turkey, Güvenç Özel studied architecture, sculpture, and philosophy in Bennington College, USA. In addition, he holds a Masters of Architecture degree from Yale University, where he graduated with multiple awards. Prior to establishing his own practice and research, he worked in the architecture offices of Rafael Vinoly, Jürgen Mayer H. and Frank Gehry, amongst others. His projects and experimental installations were exhibited in museums and galleries in the USA and Europe such as Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and The Saatchi Gallery in London. He formerly taught at Yale University, Woodbury University and University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he was teaching with Greg Lynn. His recent work has been heavily published in online and print media such as CNN, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Architectural Digest, Wired, Gizmodo, Creators Project/Vice, Archdaily, Archinect, Dwell, Designboom, among others. At UCLA IDEAS, besides determining the overall pedagogical objectives, he provides technological support to the studios of Greg Lynn, Thom Mayne and Frank Gehry, meanwhile continuing his research on robotics and sensing devices. His research on emerging technologies focuses on creating reactive environments that challenge contemporary fabrication techniques and spatial assemblies.