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Monday, 5 December 2016

Best Augmented Reality Book of 2016



Turbine Hall installation shot

This is a double category this one. It's both Best Augmented Reality Book of 2016 and Best Photobook that the reader is guaranteed to do more than just flip through.

And the winner is, without any shadow of doubt, Making Memeries by Lucas Blalock, published by Self-Published be Happy. 

Right, so this is the sequence of events of what happens when you get the book. The book arrives in the post. I open it, rip open the bubble wrap and get a super glossy card book which is like a children's book and has strange, fractured images of sausages, medical diagrams, and fragments of chairs. It's an odd one. It's puzzling.

But then I see that there's an app to go with it and you use this with the book. So I delete a couple of other apps on my phone which doesn't work too well and download the Making Memeries App (which also doesn't work too well - or maybe that was my phone. I'm not sure).

Then I succeed in opening up the app and look at the book with it; it's like looking at the book through the camera phone. At first, not much happens, but then the phone image clicks into something altogether crisper and the epidermis of the skin diagrams gets a little bit alive. Not too alive, but the hairs stand on end and the blood starts pumping. I get to the page of fragmented chairs and everything goes 3d through the phone; the layers reveal themself and start shifting. It's weird and hynoptic and I start jiggling the phone about to get a better look.

I go to the next page and there's a phone (an old style phone) - it jumps off the page, it starts ringing, I can put my hand between the page and the phone. I'm looking at phones through my phone!



There are sausages (not cut the right way incidentally), hands, chairs, it's all odd. I call people to have a look. They look. I look some more. And then I put it away and I look some more the next day. And I'm still looking at it now. I'll stop looking at it at some point and delete the Making Memeries app so I can get Navigator back and work out where I'm going, but it's not happened yet.

It's augmented reality and it feels like it comes from gaming and virtual reality and it's a way of seeing and looking that we'll see much more of. That connects to the way we see and look already.

Either that or it will be like those Magic Eye 3D pictures you got quite a few years back that gave you a headache but were still hard to resist because you'd strain your eyes for hours and see a plane or a dinosaur something in 3d and you could move your head around and it would move too. Except of course it wasn't 3D, it was a Magic Eye book.

I don't know if Making Memeries is significant or not, or if it's a gimmick or not, but it's really, really interesting. And it's different. What it all means I have no idea. But I get the feeling that it does mean something and that many different uses of the technology will become (or already are - I have no idea) apparent somewhere. It's the future in other words!

Christmas Present ideas! Definitely! To go with Ivars Gravlejs' Useful Advice for Photographers. Someone should give Lucas Blalock a copy. Then he'd know how to photograph sausages properly (at an angle to bring the best out in the cut!).

Buy Making Memeries here!

(And if you want to make your own, simpler, augmented reality book, here are some instructions on how to do it. Thank you Daniel Donelly for the link)

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