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Mock Objects

By  Michael Day 2016

Mock Objects is a moving image work which consists of a modified version of the debugging output of a popular JavaScript AR library, js-aruco. It shows the augmented reality software algorithm’s best guess of the orientation of a marker in a video scene. Since the estimated position and angle of the marker changes with each frame of the video, the image flickers from one orientation to another. The restless image is evidence of the software’s indecision about how it understands what it sees.

Viewers may be able to infer that the movement is generated from human activity, since even after processing, there is still an identifiably organic character to the motion. The piece highlights an instance of algorithmic uncertainty, making the measurement of this uncertainty a major formal component of the work. While highly visually reductive and utilitarian in appearance, the piece makes visible a process of computation that is contingent and inconclusive.

This piece was produced for the group exhibition Testing, Testing at SIA Gallery in Sheffield. A catalogue was produced (Testing, Testing: Prologue, ISBN: 978-1-84387-399-0), and the exhibition also generated a symposium and a second publication (Testing, Testing: Dialogue, ISBN: 978-1-84387-402-7). Both publications can be viewed at the project website.

Exhibited at Testing, Testing, SIA Gallery, Sheffield, July–August 2016.

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