Lewis Carroll’s works have a unique quality of whimsy in perplexity that even today continues to provide new meaning and depth. In particular, the works depicting Alice flaunt a poetic ambiguity that has garnered a lot of attention from readers. Joyfully absurd and sometimes satirical, Alice’s story is open for many interpretations. Our team was deeply interested in the interpretive nature of this work; our interest inspired us to create an experience that investigates the process of interpretation in an interactive format.
What Is It but a Dream is a recombinant narrative book with an AR (augmented reality) companion application for smartphones. The book is a physical object which comes with AR cards pertaining to specific characters and encounters in Alice’s adventures. These cards can be placed into the book in any order via slots on the eligible pages. When the user views these AR cards through their phone they can see visual interpretations of these moments in the story. Several of the pages are fixed and cannot hold AR cards; these are transition pages which when interacted with in AR shift the tone of the experience. All of the characters, including those on previously viewed pages, look different after each transition when viewed through the phone. In this manner the phone becomes a “looking-glass” through which Alice’s world is interpreted differently depending on her current perspective.
Kelsey Rice - Book Artist & Designer
Jung-Ho Sohn - Engineer & Designer
Yiwen Dai - Artist & Designer
Uriel Vanchestein - Composer
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