THE AUGURS OF SLAVE ISLAND
Set in the near future, 'The Augury' is a speculative fiction imagining an alternate development path for Slave Island; a historically rich, and ethnically diverse district in the centre of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. It is an augmented reality projection of the future Slave Island that questions emerging digital culture; speculating on what might happen if 'liking', 'disliking', 'tweeting' and 'sharing' were taken to the scale of the city plan.
Experienced as a virtual city in the sky, 'The Augury' is a 1:1 map of Slave Island's urban future. Constructed from data sent directly from the residents and investors of Slave Island itself, 'The Augury' is a city of gold, whose coherence and clarity directly reflects public sentiment toward existing and proposed land, thus becoming an aspirational vision, a measure of land value, and an urban planning device.
At the centre of this society is the Watchtower. A monument to technology; here the value of Slave Island's land literally hangs in the balance. It is both aspirational and foreboding, referencing the limitless potentials of this digital city, but also constantly reminding us of the culture of self-surveillance it unconsciously imposes.
The Augury is a speculative future scenario, where an augmented reality city's clarity and cohesion directly reflects public sentiment toward proposed and existing land, collected through digital social networks.
Slave Island is a historically rich district at the heart of Colombo. It is a contested land - where commercial dreams for rapid land development threaten to bury local livelihoods in mad scramble to grab land.
In a world where resources are scarce and space is in high demand, residents of a fictional floating city - inspired by the flood of Ovid's Metamorphoses - turn to augmented reality for organisation, ornament, and refuge.
Augury is an augmented reality prototype that allows real time manipulation of digital models projected into real space, using SMS messages.
In the time of the Augury, the paper land deed has been replaced by Totems; household markers of land ownership, and augmented reality markers for perceiving the Augury.
At the centre of Slave Island's speculated future is the Watchtower, the core technical and social infrastructure that supports the Augury.
Constructed from data sent directly from the residents and investors of Slave Island, the Augury is a city of gold, whose coherence and clarity directly reflects public sentiment toward existing and proposed land.
Under the watchful gaze of the Watchtower, residents and investors gather to trade Totems; augmented reality markers that confer the ability to encode futures into the Augury.
With land ownership in Slave Island tied to the possession of Totems (the augmented reality markers for the Augury), potential investors are forced to negotiate directly with local landowners, giving them greater powers of self-determination.
A visualisation of land value and the collective aspirations of the city, the Augury supports an informal market of land trades and negotiations, mediating between the agendas of landowners and investors.