20 April 2010


Thought games.  That's what Einstein called them.  I'll call them imagination games.  Walter Mitty wanted to live other lives.  I don't.  I just wish it were all a little more interesting.

A little game I've played since I was a kid is to gaze upon an everyday object and project decoration onto it.  With my mind!  Wooo, look out!  Detour around the dangerous boredom.  Bordering a door in a waiting room, on the tile wall above the bathtub or the side of a mundane building.  What if these ordinary objects were completely covered in the most ornate, detailed and perhaps bejeweled surface?  In an audience, listening to perhaps not the most interesting speaker, rays of iridescent designs may start animating out of their head. Not particularly amused with modernist / minimalist architecture, somehow I impress upon the visual vacuum some soul.  Not meaning, just some decoration.  A little more experience in my experience please!  Shake me out of the Zen-like trance of gray existential being with floor to ceiling glass windows and fluorescent lighting.  I'm not always unit P4752.

So then I started thinking, this little game could be a sci-fi app of the future.  You know the one where we wear our own personal computers (cell phones) and access the world we walk through using video goggles (already here.)  Augmented reality.  So my app is called iEmbellish.  Choose a texture, choose a historic genre, choose a favorite painter and the whole world is rendered to look like that through your goggles.  Decorative overlay.  Ahh, all the cars and skyscrapers are the same brushed Delorean stainless steel delicately etched in arabesques of Persian fractal tiled goodness.  Or gold leaf Baroque floral motif and light blue satin everything and people rendered in moody rich dark Dutch master colors.  Perhaps a nightmarish Van Gogh world with sidewalks rendered in thick blobs of yellow uhg.  The world rendered ala Mondrian, an infinite plane of grid and colored squares.  Perhaps you render all the buildings and clothing around you to match a different time period.  Time travel now!  Perhaps spoken words are translated into Shakespearean prose.

How completely different our experiences are, and how completely different people may become if they walk in a world of their own making.

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