An augmented reality art exhibit will arrive at Denver Botanic Gardens

Detailed image of Ori Gersht, Do not forget me, 2021, Jerusalem Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of Ori Gersht

Visitors will be able to use their phones to display contemporary pieces by internationally renowned artists amidst the natural landscapes of the gardens.

The immersive art that fuses technology with traditional exhibits has become the latest fad on the Denver art scene. Along with Meow Wolf, which premieres this month, Denverites has been able to see the concept exhibited during Prismajic’s Shiki Dreams, Novo Ita at Spectra Art Space or Van Gogh Alive at Stanley Marketplace. However, in some places there has been improved art for what is known as Augmented Reality (RA), a window with technology that adds another lens to what you already see with your own eyes.

Now, starting Sept. 21, the Denver Botanic Garden is hosting a so-called RA experience See the invisible. The exhibition features contemporary sculptures by world-renowned artists such as Ai Weiwei, Jakob Kudsk Steensen and Sarah Mehoyas, among others.

A smartphone is the only tool viewers will need to see art. For starters, people will download the file See the invisible , available on the App Store and Google Play. They will then be guided by maps to various physical locations in the gardens. Once they approach a virtual piece, the signs and notifications of the applications will make visitors open the application, which they can use to admire the works, visible on the phone, but invisible to the naked eye.

“Today we experiment a lot through our phones and we love taking pictures of what we see to share our experiences,” says Jen Tobias, associate director of exhibitions and art collections at the Denver Botanic Garden. “This is such an interesting way that it integrates this and many of the works comment on technology and our experiences with nature.”

In fact, the creators of the exhibition — Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fun — wanted to choose the botanical gardens as the location for their virtual works. Denver Botanic Gardens is just one of 12 gardens around the world that will simultaneously launch the RA experience, located locally in Australia, South Africa and the UK. Each work comments on topics such as nature and sustainability, exploring the connection between the natural world and the technological world, created by man.

“We’re always looking to connect people with plants,” Tobias says. “This is another experience we can offer people to think about the relationship between them, nature and technology.”

The conservation of augmented art is very different from traditional art. Instead of finding a place on the gallery wall, Tobias and his team were tasked with locating the best garden landscapes that would serve as home for each work of art. Enlarged sculptures could not be placed too close to each other — which could cause technical problems — nor could they be placed in a place where they were interrupted by a bush or a tree. The team also worked with GPS developers to make sure the desired locations were compatible with the app’s technology. Months of development and beta testing have ensured that when the project opens to the public, art and technology will come together perfectly.

Some of the pieces are even interactive, allowing guests to enter the artwork and see it from the inside. Worried about how to get a good shot on Instagram? All you have to do is take a screenshot of the application with the frame: the experience allows you to take many photos.

“Ultimately, we just want people to have fun,” Tobias says. “It is an orderly experience to walk through the gardens and see these invisible things come to light when you look in the right place. We always look to bring a little joy to people’s lives and let them relax and have a good time.

If you go: See the invisible opens Sept. 21 at the York Street location in Denver Botanic Gardens. There is no additional cost to see the exhibit other than a ticket, which is between $ 11 and $ 15. Tickets must be purchased in advance and have a timed ticket.

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