The invisible sculptures coming to botanical gardens around the world

·2-min read
Jakob Kudsk Steensen presents "Water Organ" (2022) as part of the "Seeing the Invisible" augmented reality art exhibition.

A dozen botanical gardens around the world will host sculptures by some of the greatest names in contemporary art this fall. What's special about this showcase, however, is that the artworks won't be visible to the naked eye, but through an accompanying application.

The Jerusalem Botanical Garden and the Outset Contemporary Art Fund set out to make the invisible visible through a major exhibition of augmented reality art. The curators, Tal Michael Haring and Hadas Maor, have teamed up with international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Mohammed Kazem and Sigalit Landau to present the public with digital sculptures. While most were specially designed for the exhibition, the works of Ori Gersht and Sarah Meyohas were adapted from existing projects.

Visitors will have to use an application specially designed for the exhibition to see the sculptures appear in augmented reality in the 12 gardens participating in "Seeing the Invisible." While visitors will see the same works in Melbourne as in Denver, these will be integrated differently in each location. "Setting these digital experiences inside botanical gardens of different countries, without disturbing the preservations, and keeping the carbon footprint to the minimum, the exhibition addresses themes pertaining to nature, environment, and sustainability and explores the boundaries and connections between art, technology, and nature," explains the event's official website .

"Seeing the Invisible" will be held simultaneously in 12 botanical gardens in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, Australia and Canada, starting in September. The application accompanying the exhibition can already be downloaded from the event's official website.

While "Seeing the Invisible" is billed as the first augmented reality exhibition organized with botanical gardens, the cultural sector is increasingly exploring this new artistic medium . A recent festival called "Palais Augmenté," dedicated to artistic creation in augmented reality, was staged in Paris in June by the city's Grand Palais exhibition hall and museum complex and Fisheye magazine. At the time, the empty space of the Grand Palais Éphémère was transformed using five works in augmented reality, created for the occasion by Mélanie Courtinat, Lauren Moffatt, Mélodie Mousset, Manuel Rossner and Theo Triantafyllidis. Visitors were able to discover them through the "Palais Augmenté" application.

Caroline Drzewinski