Cezar Mocan

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Cities and the Sky 3 (2018)

An augmented reality experience for two which explores the collaborative nature of building, through the lens of a place imagined by Calvino Italo—Thekla is a city whose construction never stops, so that its deconstruction can never begin.

The two participants take roles: a builder and an explorer. While the builder is asked to design a part of an imaginary city through drawing in space, the explorer walks through a digital environment meant to expose the story of Thekla through words, sounds and images.

The experiences of the two are connected: the amount of work done by the builder directly influences the light conditions in the explorer’s journey. This gesture functions as a way of inducing collaboration between the two, as well as a way of staying faithful to the original story—building must never stop.

A third component of this work consists in a projection of all builders’ creations througout the course of the exhibition—the shared city. Starting as an empty screen, the projected city gathers one more layer with every builder’s creation.

Developed during the Reality? program at the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe and exhibited at ACUD Berlin. Created using Unity.

Still from the live projection running during the exhibition of the project at ACUD in July 2018. All of the spatial drawings are stacked on top of each other, forming the city of Thekla.

Example of a prompt received by the builder.

Still from the explorer’s experience.

Early prototype for drawing in space.

Still from the builder’s experience.

Still from the explorer’s experience: a feed from the phone’s camera is displayed on a piece of cloth inside the 3D virtual world. In front of it, you can see a live updating miniature version of what the builder is drawing.

Still from the explorer’s experience.

Still from the projection: drawings in space, stacked on top of each other.