Sunday, July 10, 2011

camminando + vernissages | World Making in the Hudson Valley

At the same time (July 9, 18 EST) two visual arts events in very close geographical locations of the Hudson Valley (both in Columbia County) were suggestive of "worldmaking".

In Hudson, Carrie Haddad Photography presented Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea by the artists collaborative Kahn & Selesnick As typical of Kahn & Selesnick's work, the photographs narrate stories at the borderline between science fiction and surrealism, where technological landscapes marry a dream world.

The other "worldmaking" event happened a few miles away, at Art Omi, presenting Augmented Reality at Peeling Layers of Space Out of Thin Air: Augmented Reality installations by Architects including design by Vito Acconci Studio, Asymptote, Kol/Mac, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Metaxy, Thomas Leeser Architecture, SHoP, and Cleater Studio. The exhibition was curated by John Cleater.

Augmented Reality (AR) provides a real time integration/augmentation of perceptions from a physical environment with computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or three-dimensional graphics — differently from Virtual Reality (VR) which creates computer worlds completely separated from the physical environment. Several applications of AR were developed in the 1990s but recently, thanks to the widespread presence of smartphones, AR is gaining back popularity.

I was not very impressed by the AR design at Omi, which seem disconnected with the existing site, not differently from many of the sculptural work at Art Omi, which lack of site specificity. As a land artist myself I strongly believe in the connection between an intervention —either physical or virtual— and the landscape. Nevertheless I admire the curatorial effort, and if you have an Iphone or Android phone available (prerequisite to see the work) and are in the Hudson Valley, you should visit the site.

For more information on AR and VR you can see my 1996 book Designing Digital Space, the first book dealing with VR application in architecture. Information on AR at or on the Omi show at

The sunset was real!