I. R. Bach, Think Big, 2021, in collaboration with LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives. © I.R. Bach. image courtesy of Snap Inc.

I.R. Bach Challenges Us to Think Big with Augmented Reality

March 21, 2024
Sajji Lazarus, Snap Research Fellow, Director’s Office

LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives is a multi-year initiative that brings together celebrated artists and leading technologists to create augmented reality monuments exploring histories of Los Angeles communities. In consultation with community leaders and historians, the initiative’s third and final collection of artists, Victoria Fu, Yassi Mazandi, Rashaad Newsome, Rubén Ortiz Torres, and Alison Saar, have used the lens of collective ancestral memory to examine the individual and communal legacies we leave today and have created works designed to be experienced at locations across Los Angeles with Snapchat’s camera.

We're also revisiting work by previous Monumental Perspectives collections. Below, learn more about I.R. Bach's monument Think Big from Collection I.

I.R. Bach’s work challenges his viewers to shift perspectives. He affirms that we can solve problems like violence if we learn to think freely and without bias. He has presented his ThinkEmpathy initiative in more than 30 cities. The initiative tackles two social behavioral paradoxes: Categorical Identity (the search for identity based on categories such as skin color or gender) and Paradigmatic Discourse, which blocks free thought by justifying belief. Bach’s humanitarianism guided by humor is present in his AR monuments for LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives. Drawing from the continuous need to practice and develop empathy, I.R. Bach designed Think Fast, Think Big, Think Deep, a playful tool box for deepening self-reflection. The project consists of two world-lenses, Think Fast and Think Big, and a microsite, Think Deep.

Users experiencing Bach's monument, courtesy of IR Bach

Bach’s approach to monuments differs from the conventional standing structure. Not only did he choose to represent everyday, freestanding objects, the concept diverges as well–he does not memorialize a person or event. Instead, Bach’s monuments come with messages of positivity and optimism focused on introspection. The experience of encountering any of these pieces are the moments that Bach deems worth memorializing. Through bright colors and playful animation coupled with whimsical music, Think Big creates an experience designed to guide positive self-reflection.

“Rather than a pedestal for a monument celebrating an individual, I want to offer a perspective in which users can playfully consider the phrase, ‘See yourself in others and others in you,’” Bach says. “I aspire to collectively build an invisible monument to mutual understanding through introspection.” 

I. R. Bach, Think Big, 2021, in collaboration with LACMA × Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives. © I.R. Bach. image courtesy of Snap Inc.

To Bach, monuments exist to remind viewers of the values that we hold to as a community. Monumentality does not have to be about size or even occupy the physical space. The concept that believing human potential is infinite is a monumental idea, especially when that thinker is a child, or a person who would otherwise not have considered that perspective without art as a guide. The path of thought exalts the power of understanding, inviting everybody to think deeply in order to heal and grow. The artist celebrates the availability of free thought and invites viewers to more actively participate in building habits to unlock potential through the art of introspection.

Think Fast poses three deceitfully simple yes-or-no questions that trigger animations based on the user's answers. It is not connected to any specific site, and it can be enjoyed anywhere. Think Big offers an experience anchored to six spots in Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park. Through playful animations and original music and a sequence of tracks that users encounter as they stroll the park, this lens seeks to guide a meditative process to heighten awareness, contemplation and introspection. In Think Deep, a microsite developed by the artist, I.R. Bach further develops tools for self-assessment and empathy.

I.R. Bach, The Gift, courtesy of the artist

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