Augmented reality as a Thirdspace: Simultaneous experience of the physical and virtual

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PubDate: Mar 2023

Teams: University of the West of England

Writers: Rob Eagle

PDF: Augmented reality as a Thirdspace: Simultaneous experience of the physical and virtual

Abstract

With the proliferation of devices that display augmented reality (AR), now is the time for scholars and practitioners to evaluate and engage critically with emerging applications of the medium. AR mediates the way users see their bodies, hear their environment and engage with places. Applied in various forms, including social media, e-commerce, gaming, enterprise and art, the medium facilitates a hybrid experience of physical and digital spaces. This article employs a model of real-and-imagined space from geographer Edward Soja to examine how the user of an AR app navigates the two intertwined spaces of physical and digital, experiencing what Soja calls a ‘Third-space’. The article illustrates the potential for headset-based AR to engender such a Thirdspace through the author’s practice-led research project, the installation Through the Wardrobe. This installation demonstrates how AR has the potential to shift the way that users view and interact with their world with artistic applications providing an opportunity to question assumptions of social norms, identity and uses of physical space.

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