Manifest.AR is an international artists’ collective working with emergent forms of augmented reality as interventionist public art. During the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, the group responded to the theme of the biennial, “Seeking Silicon Valley,” by created a citywide augmented reality public art exhibition with parallel components at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. Titled “Manifest.AR @ BIC,” the group drew on collective, participatory art practices centered on mobile augmented reality technology to aggregate and map a series of artworks, which re-imagined and reinterpreted the high-tech corporate campuses and products of Silicon Valley. Performative and site-specific works were located throughout the cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Lewisburg.

Whereas the public square was once the quintessential place to air grievances, display solidarity, express difference, celebrate similarity, remember, mourn, and reinforce shared values of right and wrong, it is no longer the only anchor for interactions in the public realm. That geography has been relocated to a novel terrain, one that encourages exploration of mobile location based art. Moreover, public space is now truly open, as artworks can be placed anywhere in the world, without prior permission from government or private authorities – with profound implications for art in the public sphere and the discourse that surrounds it.

Distributed Curatorial Practice and Exhibition Strategy:
Led by a collective curatorial team including Jessica Gomula of the Building Imagination Center, Jaime Austin of ZERO1, Richard Rinehart of Samek Gallery, and Lanfranco Aceti of Kasa Gallery and Leonardo Electronic Almenac, Manifest.AR members will create iterations of the work produced for ManifestAR @ ZERO1, and modify it where necessary to address the change of context to Modesto. With its genesis in Silicon Valley the work will spread to the Central Valley as if on the prevailing winds. “Manifest.AR @ BIC: Seeking San Joaquin Valley,” will act as a prototype to explore how distributed inter-institutional curatorial approaches might support emerging distributed collective art practices.

Specific projects include:

  • “Monument to Cesar Chavez,” by John Criag Freeman
  • “Parking Lot  / Farm Decorator,” by Will Pappenheimer
  • “CreatAR,” by Mark Skwarek
  • “ARt Critic Face Matrix” by Tamiko Thiel
  • “Fortune 500 Cookies” by Tamiko Thiel
  • “From Silicon Valley to San Joaquin,” by John Craig Freeman, Mark Skwarek and Lily & Honglei
  • “Chinese Take Out,” by 4Gentlemen

The Documentary Film:
With support from the BIC’s 2013 Residence Filmmaker Challenge, a 10-15 minute  documentary film will be produced about the project in Modesto, and about the possibilities of new approaches to curation and exhibition, and to consider other ways institutions might respond to the challenges posed by these new art practices. It will include documentation of the projects below, along with artist interviews.

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