RU

July 17-22   AUGUMENTED REALITY MURAL    

MURAL: MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN

Title: MHTM [More Human Than Human]

Artist: Heavy

In the early 21st Century, the “self” has become increasingly defined by the  accumulation, aggregation, and interpretation of massive amounts of personal data. With the rise of ever-present high-powered mobile devices, social media, and artificial intelligence, our own personal data has become a digital avatar replacing us online in a way that is potentially “more human than human” [MHTH]  - carrying a higher degree of (perceived) socio-cultural value than our physical selves.

Heavy’s work critically investigates this dilemma by using cultural datasets from the City of Moscow’s Open Data Portal to construct a new version of the self. Specifically, the latitude and longitude of all of the theaters, exhibition halls, and museums in Moscow were digitally interconnected with a 3D lattice and laid over a wireframe skull mesh. These datasets were chosen because they are representative of the Arts and Humanities, core concepts that have traditionally signified the cultural human self as expressed into broader society.  However, these traditional cultural communal sites have been increasingly supplanted by impersonalized online activities and our “selves” represented not by our active presence at these cultural institutions, but rather by our accumulated data.

MHTM is both a physical mural and an augmented reality experience designed to encourage physical presence at the installation as well as communal participation in the experience. By downloading the Heavy AR app (android / ios), visitors can digitally interact with the physical mural in a way that further examines the problem of how abstract digital data often acts as a surrogate for the physical self. Signifying this tension, the central avatar is both human and non-human, familiar and strange, transparent and imprisoning, physical and digital.  Visitors to the MHTH installation become part of the performance of this examination by using their mobile devices to physically enter the data-self, and via this same digital tool of data generation, visitors can interact with and possibly begin to remove themselves from some of the personal data that has come to represent them.