augmented reality residency, 2008

In the summer of 2008 I did an artist in residency at V2_lab about augmented reality.

Two years ago V2_lab started developing the first version of an augmented reality system in collaboration with the artist Marnix de Nijs (NL). That resulted in the first public user test of a project called Exercise in Immersion 4 during the Dutch Electronic Art Festival 2007 (DEAF07).

After this presentation they went on refining the system and invited three artists-in-residence. They where chosen to explore various sub topics: Marnix de Nijs (NL) will continue his Exercise in Immersion 4 project, Boris Debackere (BE) researches spatial sound, and my focus was on 3D and visual aspects of augmented reality. In the fall of 2008, a series of workshops will be given, open to (art) students, artists and other professionals who are interested in artistic use of augmented reality.

The system V2_Lab has developed a software/hardware platform called VGE (V2_ Game Engine), based on Ogre3D with Scheme, OpenAL, Blender, ultrasound positioning and SIOS (Sensor Input/Output System developed at V2_Lab). The user wears a head-mounted display that shows a mix of 3D visuals and real world video taken by a head mounted camera.

Within this framework, I developed two small experimental projects during my residency. Inspired by the novel ‘Through the looking glass’ by Lewis Carroll, I wanted to create a dreamlike mixed reality environment, where real and virtual merge in an absurd experience. An important aspect for me was the connection between the virtual and the real elements.

Last Pawn

In Last Pawn, a real table with a chess pawn stands in the middle of the room. Around the table are three virtual windows hanging in the air and a virtual avatar stands in the middle of the room. When the participant moves the pawn on the table, the avatar walks to a position in space. If the avatar ends up in front of a window, he opens it and a new virtual space appears behind it. Like this, different spaces and atmospheres can be experienced. Additional real theater light is controlled by the system to support the experience.

Human Sandbox

The second project Human Sandbox was developed as a side experiment. Here, one participant equipped with the AR-system stands in the middle of the room, while another participant places several physical objects on the table. They track and manipulate the virtual objects seen by the other participant. With this system we were able to test and experiment with different objects much easier. An interesting result with this approach was that game logic could be developed without having to program it. You could play ‘Hide and Seek’ , just by putting and moving objects on the table.

Jonas Hansen concept, design and developing

with great support from:

Nora Hansen
Jan Misker (V2_ Lab, Project Managment)
Jelle van de Ster (V2_ Lab, VGE Game Engine Development)
Stock (V2_ Lab, OSC DMX Development)


V2 Project description
‘Better than Reality’ workshop