(Un)seen Sculptures - Augmented Reality Art
Welcome to the future, people: this is an art exhibition that you view on your smartphone which uses augmented reality software (which overlays digital layers on to your phone's camera footage of the real world) to display (un)seen sculptures around Melbourne.
Focusing on Melbourne's public spaces and cultural institutions (like Malthouse, Federation Square, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Museum, ACCA, NGV etc), (Un)seen Sculptures is one of the first official exhibitions to properly embrace some of the fantastic augmented reality software available for smartphone users (not just iPhone, also Android or Nokia Smartphone) for free.
This project, which is also happening in Sydney, and is supported by The Australian Centre Of Virtual Art and d/Lux/MediaArts uses the Layar Reality Browser (downloadable from iTunes, Android Market or Ovi Store).
Long gone is the dusty museum - browse this exhibition by searching 'unseen sculptures' in Layar and holding up your phone to a designated location, where the artwork will appear on your phone in 3D. When you tap the artwork, further information is revealed and even some 'forms of interaction'.
The artists involved include Alison Locke, Andrew Burrell, Chris Manzione, Christian Meinhardt, Christopher Hodson, Jake Hempson, Jayson Haebich, Josh Harle, Lily & Honglei, Mark Skwarek, Tamiko Thiel, John Craig Freeman, Naoko Tosa, Nathan Shafer, RIchard Byers, Sander Veenhof, Serfio Eliseu, Pedro Cardoso, Stuart Campbell, Warren Armstrong, Will Pappenhemier and Virta-Flanerazine. Not only Australians, this lineup includes names from USA, UK, China, Portugal, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan.
Interestingly, the Sydney exhibition is migrating to Melbourne via the development of an artistic species of Cane Toad or 'Bufo Virtanus' which was apparently first produced for an augmented reality exhibition at NYC's MOMA. The virtual toad 'produces a bio-engineered drug from its skin which can generate various visual and wandering experiences for those who come in contact with the toads, however in this case these side effects are primarily cascading images and information emanating from the world wide web.'
You can track the Bufo make its progress towards Melbourne here - it seems to be currently in Bendigo.
The curator and brains behind (Un)seen Sculptures is Warren Armstrong, whose background is actually in web development and databases rather than art. When he met Chris Manzione, another artist exhibiting in this show, he was totally inspired and began organising (Un)seen Sculptures through his contacts with the Manifest.AR group, who are pioneering Augmented Reality (AR) art overseas. Their manifesto wonderfully begins with a quote from the 1982 Tron ("All that is Visible must grow beyond itself and extend into the Realm of the Invisible").