A.R. Superstar, Princess – Online Intervention
Princess is an augmented reality identity created by the collaboration between myself and everyone who uses the Princess filter on Instagram. This project was an extended experiment in what it means for an identity to exist as an Instagram filter grafted onto human hosts. It was also an opportunity to try an approach to creating an online persona by using content created by multiple different people; a sort of crowd-sourced, decentralized, persona.
I chose to position Princess as an entity that spontaneously emerged from the primordial soup of the instagram augmented reality network rather than the highly curated virtual avatars such as Lil Miquela or Laturbo Avedon which are clearly crafted to look as human as possible. Princess is, rather, a mutation in the ecosystem of filters, an amalgamation of digital data that has combined in just the right way to gain sentience. As a result Princess presents as a mashup of 3D models and 2D skins that directly reference some of the most popular current instagram filters. The other element that separates Princess from other contemporary virtual entities is that Princess is inherently an A.R. Personality. This means they can only exist in combination with a host face that puppets Princess’s voice and features.
I initially intended to grow the persona of Princess by giving control of the account over to a series of friends. They would post as Princess and contribute their own interpretation of the character to the growing personality. While I stuck to this formula in part I also became interested in expanding the human hosts for Princes to people outside of my immediate circle of acquaintances. In some of the posts I began to experiment with projecting Princess onto celebrities and strangers through youtube videos. I found it especially interesting to see Princess’s power grow through these videos. Suddenly Princess was able to travel through time and great distances as well as inhabit the lives of the most glamorous and popular figures in society.
As of last night I submitted an application to instagram to publish Princess, allowing anyone to have access to the filter, and therefore a role in making the personality of Princess. This could be Princess’s chance to emerge from the cocoon of the @original_princess_ account and transcend my motives as their creator. While this could be an incredible leap for Princess there is also an element of danger. Instagram has specific guidelines for what can be published as an A.R. filter and submitting this application brings Princess directly under the scrutiny of the authorities. If they find some issue with Princess the application could be denied, but there is also the possibility that they would ban the entire account killing Princess in the process.