The name 'totem' relates to the idea of one's venerated deity, guardian, virtue, or in other words – beliefs in general. In this context totems don't have to be perceived as animalistic sculptures, or visualized spirits, but rather as a value that's in a way worshiped and crucial in one's life. It might represent anything, such as the closest like family, friends, and loved ones, through material values, wealth, career, and finishing on purely abstract virtues, spirits, or deities.
The Totem is a generative 3D object – each viewer has their own individual experience. The generated features are based on the unique user identification number that is extracted from their device. ID is created based on available data such as device type, operating system, web browser, language, hardware configuration, etc. This way every visitor gets their own totem – their own set of traits that would define the experience.
The nature of mobile devices limits perception to personal experience. Any totem perceived via one's own device would be different from other viewers' experiences. It is possible to compare and discuss but might be difficult to understand bigger and smaller differences. On the one hand, everyone expects the same artwork, on the other – the output is personalized and unique.
A mundane device becomes the definition of a transcendent experience. A very personal device, carried and used daily, is on the other hand something unimaginably commercial, privacy ignoring and turning many of its users into a set of data gathered by corporations for use in advertising and/or influence.
The process of creating a user's unique ID is similar to those, which are used by advertising companies.
Can a device change our habits? Our beliefs?
Can it influence, build, or discard our totems?
Are our totems safe?
Below is a live script. Due to system settings it won't display AR experience below.
Click on the link below and open the website in Chrome browser on an Android device.
Follow the instructions on the screen.
You can move freely in the space, walk around, and inside the digital representation.
iOS users need WebXR Viewer browser available in App Store.
Click here to view script in a new window.
Totem is an augmented reality experience, premiered at the New Spirituality show at Mark Rothko Art Center in Daugavpils, Latvia.