The two spots I chose to augment are not immediately obvious to someone walking around Memorial — a book in the corner of a glass case or a poster for an early 2000s poetry project are not things that are instantly associated with Memorial. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t immediately tied to the fabric of Memorial and the English major, specifically, it just takes a bit more digging to find the strong connection.
Thankfully, things like augmented reality can be easily utilized to instantly facilitate the connections.
I chose to overlay the book, Black Hawk Down, with a poster from the movie of the same title. This overlay came almost as an accident, as I was looking in the case, after learning that it housed books written by professors or those otherwise associated with the University. I had heard of the movie before, and knew it was fairly well received, even winning a couple of Oscars. This was a nearly surreal moment, because I realized that pop culture could be directly tied to this University, and Memorial specifically, in a way that I had never thought of before. This overlay is relevant to Memorial because, after some light Googling of the author, Mark Bowden, one finds out that he was “Distinguished Writer in Residence” from 2013–2017, even teaching a few undergrad classes before that. While this is, again, not immediately apparent by the specifics of the augmentation — as that would be a lot of content to put into an overlay that is intended to intrigue the user, not present them with an info-dump on the biography of the author — the spirit of that feeling of surprise and awe I had when I first saw the book, I believe will come through in the overlay. When a user will look at the case, preferably already aware of the significance of the books in the case, finding Black Hawk Down and discovering that it was turned into a feature film, should give a sense of legacy and importance to the work we do in college, that it could one day be shared with the world and for future generations to aspire to.
I chose to overlay the Public Poetry project poster in the third floor, side-room, for a couple of reasons. The first is that, I really like it in that room, with the names of famous authors bordering the ceiling showing a more traditional view of the English major, and so I wanted to augment something in that room that would encourage others to visit more often. The second reason I chose the poster, and the reason I chose the overlay I did, was to raise awareness of a contrasting side to the English major: the creative writing side. I feel like this side is generally swept aside in favor of things like English Education or Journalism (which are the two most frequent job predictions people say when I tell them I’m an English major — “Oh, so you want to be a teacher?”). However, this overlay of the current Public Poetry Project website and the 2018 winners, shows that creative writing is not a silly aspiration and that there is still a great appreciation in the larger world for poets, and by extension, other kinds of writers.
AR should not be a simple recitation of information, but should be used in a way that makes the user thinking about what they are seeing and putting the connections together. It should be used to inspire feelings in the user, that will make them think twice about the world around them, wondering what else might be hiding beneath the surface or in the past of a building.