Art and architecture plays with reality

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Madeleine Dore

What role does Augmented Reality play in the future of art, architecture, and the sustainability of future spaces?

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Concept for Moon Calendar, 2014, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah at Subiaco pARK via www.subiaco.wa.gov.au

The realm of possibility for Augmented Reality (AR) is endless. From alleviating phantom limb pain (PLP), to transforming the way we window shop, our interaction with reality is shifting, and artists and architects alike are evolving the future of public space.

Felix Laboratories (Felix), the innovative architectural design team chosen as Australia's representatives at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, are a prominent example among those pushing boundaries between architecture, art and technology.

The Augmented Australia 1914 – 2014 exhibition, curated by Felix, is adding a futuristic tint to our nostalgia. ‘Architects can tell us how our world could be. This exhibition shows how our world, back in Australia, could have been,’ said Ambassador Mike Rann’s in his speech for the opening of Augmented Australia.

Launched alongside this year’s Sydney Architecture Festival, the virtual exhibition – radiating out across Sydney from Customs House – is a tour of 22 unbuilt historical and contemporary projects from around the country. From an alternative vision for Sydney Opera House, to Australia’s new pavilion under construction in Venice, Customs House is set up with trigger images for each project. The exhibition's app, Augmented Australia, brings to life real-world scale 3D models positioned around the city and at Parramatta.

Architects are not alone in their exploration of the disruptive potential of augmented technology: artists have been incorporating the technology into their practice for some time, and a new genre of art is steadfastly emerging. 

As covered by ArtsHub earlier this year, Sydney-based web developer and new media artist Warren Armstrong created (Un)Seen Sculptures, ‘a mobile 3D augmented reality art show’ designed to be a virtual version of the iconic Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

In 2011, artist Amir Baradaran used an AR app to project a short performance, Frenchising Mona Lisa, over Leonardo da Vinci's iconic Mona Lisa.

About the author

Madeleine Dore is a freelance writer and founder of Extraordinary Routines, an interview project exploring the intersection between creativity and imperfection. She is the previous Deputy Editor at ArtsHub. Follow her on Twitter at @RoutineCurator