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Kaws: AR, cyber art, net art, multimedia, interactive
I went to the last exhibition of the American graffiti artist Kaws at The Serpentine gallery a few weeks ago. The exhibition consisted of a mix of real paintings and sculptures and a virtual AR experience using Acute Art technology.
I think it’s the first time I’ve experienced AR out-of-home that worked smoothly, so I think that’s a good sign that these types of new media are improving and can be seriously considered for projects. It must be said that my companion had no luck with her smartphone and she couldn’t get the APP to work. Therefore, the unpredictability of technology must be considered and Visitor Assistants had tablets that they could lend to visitors in case their devices decided not to work. So, thanks to this detail I can stress that the experience was smooth and enjoyable.
Although my positive experience, I think that projects based on new media are often very attractive due to the innovation and surprise factor, but they can be quite empty of content. I think a good exercise is to try to visualize what would happen if we removed all the AR makeup from the project.
It’s something I’ve seen throughout my career with concepts and media that have evolved into something with its language. But in its beginnings all have been wounded by the same issues, let’s remember concepts that we boasted so much about: cyber art, net art, multimedia, interactive…
It takes its time and I think universal (or extended) access is the basis of this process. Technology must be swallowed, digested, and massively assimilated by society so that it can develop, but there are times when it chokes no matter how attractive it may be. This has happened in the past (remember the famous interactive television in the 90s) and it keeps happening to me with persimmon. So, let’s hope AR is on track.
I don’t mean to say that this exhibition in particular has fallen into these issues, I leave that to the personal opinion of each one, which is art for a reason.