The Voxel Bridge app opens up a new digital world under Change Bridge

Vancouver Biennial launches iOS and Android app for Voxel Bridge, a virtual and blockchain installation by Jessica Angel

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After more than three years of work and planning by the nonprofit Vancouver Biennale, a unique digital and analog art installation is ready for its public debut.

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The free Voxel Bridge app will premiere today at the biennial, the fortnightly public art exhibit at Metro Vancouver.

The app will allow anyone with a smartphone to experience a new type of public works under the south end of the Cambie Bridge.

Created by artist Jessica Angel, the 1,765-square-foot public art installation is being described as the world’s largest augmented reality experience, using so-called blockchain technology, a new form of store data in secure, decentralized networks.

“Basically, the idea is to use art as a way to bring blockchain into the mainstream from an experiential and fun perspective rather than a brain and technical perspective,” said Angel, from his Brooklyn, Nova studio. York. “People are a little hesitant to dive into the blockchain. It’s something so different from what we’re used to. It’s something so new that it takes a while to digest.

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Voxel Bridge illustration by artist Jessica Angel.
Voxel Bridge illustration by artist Jessica Angel. jpg

The word “voxel” refers to a point in a three-dimensional space.

The analog part of Voxel Bridge is a vinyl overlay on the walkway, as well as on the columns and bottom of the bridge deck, which looks like a circuit board that is inside computers. But the overlay has been applied so that it appears slightly off.

When you download the app for iOS or Android, you can use your phone to walk under the bridge, scan bookmarks on the ground, and activate 20 different augmented reality animations.

“You’ll be able to touch these floating blocks and see what’s hidden behind each one,” Angel said.

Augmented reality for the Voxel Bridge was developed by Spheroid Universe and supported by Kusama network blockchain technology.

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Angel said augmented reality has two overlapping layers: one that explains the basics, such as what a voxel is, and another that is technically more complex and explores the Kusama network, a decentralized digital book that focuses on experimentation.

Angel described Voxel Bridge as a true international collaboration that used digital technology during the pandemic to bring together people from Berlin, Kiev, Moscow, Bogota, New York and Vancouver.

He chose the bottom of Cambie Bridge for a reason.

“The idea for the bridge came about because I want to overcome these things that may seem completely opposite: virtual, physical, and blockchain technology.”

Barrie Mowatt, founder and president of the Vancouver Biennale, said she was introduced by a curator to Angel about ten years ago during a trip to Bogota, Colombia.

He described Angel’s installation as the “next generation of public space. This is what the biennial is supposed to do to stay on the edge of things and drive discussions and ideas on how to transform public space and make “It’s the first in Vancouver and the first in the world.”

Voxel Bridge is a temporary facility until 2023.

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