Perspectives: Decolonizing Public Space through Augmented Reality

How can Augmented Reality (AR) act as a mediator in decolonizing public space through anti-monumentalism?

While democracy and public space do not entirely coincide, it is the potential of their intersection that becomes politically important. Geographer Don Mitchell has written extensively on the topic of public space and its relation to democracy, by employing Henri Lefebvre's notion of the right to the city. Decolonizing public space is about eradicating racism, a direct legacy of colonialism. Monuments can ironically disconnect us from history and cushion us from it; they can anesthetize us rather than deeply connect us to the past. On the other hand, "Anti-monuments" challenge the way public space memorials remind us of the past.

I am designing an AR application that brings in the opposing perspectives on the Monuments in the public space. In my case study, I focused on The Sir John Macdonald statue, one of the most controversial monuments in Montreal. Recently, There has been a debate in both academic circles and Indigenous communities, surrounding Macdonald's role in history. The Monument is located at Place du Canada in Montreal and was sculpted by George Edward.

In terms of my methods, I acquired (1) Reading literature review from different sources such as Books, Articles, Interviews, Documentaries, Artist statements, Blogs, etc. (2) Studying different AR applications & games, Comic books, Games, Media Materials with similar approaches in form or function. (3) Designing as part of my method to make and reflect on the process, which includes: Branding, User Interface & Experience (UI/UX), Application design, Audio narratives, 3D animations.

To better understand the concept of "Perspectives," I invite you to watch the video down below. In this scenario, the user chooses and reaches the Monument, experience the Monument's history and anti-monument modes, record the experience to share on social media, and votes if the Monument belongs in Montreal's landscape or not.

Thanks for Watching!