Beauty Filters and Augmented Reality

I want to draw your attention to a recent offerings over at my Salvo column. My article, “From Pokémon to Beauty Filters: Augmented Reality and the New Nihilism” explores how beauty filters continue the trend of problematizing the physical body. As augmented reality promotes the conceit that the world is fully customizable, we lose a shared framework for action and meaning. From my article:

What is at stake with AR is not simply what can count as beauty, but what can count as reality. This becomes clear when we compare augmented reality with traditional art. Looking at a picture book or watching a movie combines elements of the real world with fantasy; yet it is only because these art forms occur against the backdrop of a stable external world that the fantastical is fantastical, just as a lie can only make sense within a context in which truth is normative. But AR threatens to disrupt how we perceive the normativity of reality and the truth about reality on which our understanding of it depends. The emerging subtext in multiple self-reports from girls who use AR to change their appearance, is, “Who’s to say that the beauty filter isn’t merely bringing out the true self? Who’s to say that the real world has any more truth than the world of digitally enhanced perceptual experience?”

Questions like these emerge not merely because we have lost a shared understanding of the importance of truth, but because during an age of enhanced reality we can no longer take for granted a shared world as the common framework for action and belief. Thus, philosopher Byung-Chul Han describes the era we are entering as “a new nihilism” that emerges when “information is completely decoupled from reality.” This decoupling entails a loss in “our sense of reality and its factual truths.” But, Han contends, “the loss of factual truth means the loss of a shared world as a framework for our actions.”

Read full article here.

See Also


Scroll To Top