Augmented Reality

I remember when they started hiding 3D images in magazines which you could “see” if you looked at it through an app on your smartphone. This super-sophisticated technology was called “augmented reality.”

Back when I was in advertising, “Augmenting Reality” was pretty much my job description. We creatives felt blessed because our job was to make life more interesting – more beautiful, let’s say – than it really was. We would see a place or a situation and think… how can it be improved if I just added some prop, some detail, some special effect? We’d often start a brainstorming session with the question, wouldn’t it be cool if…?

We wanted to see the world as we imagined it, maybe, or as beautifully as we remembered it being when we were kids. Back then it was perfect, we figured. Nowadays, less so….

Eventually this tendency to “fix the world” grows tiresome, my brothers. After collecting “Red Cross Projects” all my life, the time came when I wanted to step back and relax. I was ready to let the world be What It Wanted To Be. Maybe it was perfect after all, and it was simply my insistence that it was wrong was causing me such inner turmoil.

There was an international film movement in the 1990’s called Dogme 95 started by the great Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. It gave ten rules to preserve the “chastity” of film as an honest description of real life, using hand-held cameras and taking place in the present moment. Shooting must be done on location, without bringing in props from other locations; the sound must be recorded on set, not added later, including music; special lighting and special effects are forbidden, etc.

This was an attempt, I think, to curb their own similar, natural tendencies, and helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone in my madness.

What if the world was already perfect exactly the way it is? It might be or it might not be, but we will never know… until we curb that tendency to want to fix it and begin simply to observe it.

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