Us and Them
Augmented reality project
Concept image 02
Us and them
By conceiving of the nature as another organism, which undergoes the same physical space-time with humans, Us And Them is a project that radically transfers a viewer’s position into a tree’s point of view by combining augmented reality with biosensors. Architecture has challenged the previous dominance of nature for a long time now (e.g. the Crystal Palace in 1851 was a memorable construct intended to represent the growing power of man over nature.) This project, by contrast, will augment another reality in which humans can interact with non-human organisms and envision symbiotic relationship.
The project begins with the simple question: “what if trees could talk,” and if so, then what are we going to hear in response? Being a green, void space at the core of the urban site, a public park has taken an important role in city life. It is a place where people can go whenever they want to feel relaxed –– escaping the busy urban network. Numerous studies have shown the positive psychological and physiological impact of parks to human life; in a way, “seeing trees” results in lowering the level of cortisol, the human-stress hormone, as well as blood pressure and heart rate.
However, studies have overlooked what organisms in nature experience from humans. Current sensor-detecting technology found that plants are also stimulated, or even feel stress, particularly within their interaction with humans. Ethylene is one example of a type of hormone plants release specifically in stressed conditions to signal with their bio-network. This chemical compound is used as a biomarker of plant stress for humans to observe.
In Us And Them, the AR project renders the scene through a vibrant color spectrum that illustrates the different range and levels of Ethylene found at the site. The colorful renderings will be fed by real-time data from biosensors installed around the exhibition site. The simulation, therefore, is of the sentient landscape that senses us when we are interacting with it. Walking through the experience with a hand-held device will offer a different realm of experience for the user to witness. Us and Them creates an ever-changing space generated by a new network topology within the human-nature exchange.