artist collaboration

Curators: Lily & Honglei (Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, Curatorial Assistant: He Li)

Event: Digital Art Weeks Festival 2014, Seoul

Exhibition Dates: Oct 5th -Dec 22nd, 2014

Organization: DAW International

Curatorial Statement:

The Augmented Realism


Lily & Honglei (Lily X. Yang, Honglei Li and He Li)

The artistic application of Augmented Reality (AR) mobile technology is a new approach to creativity. With a mobile-device program, AR technology allows artists to set up site-specific installations that integrate digital art with physical surroundings. The audience can then view these works through their cell phone cameras, resulting in an artistic experience that challenges the existing definitions of space and medium.

Like any site-specific installations, the physical setting of AR artwork plays a vital role as a visual and contextual component of the overall piece. By inserting virtual artistic elements into a physical site, the AR medium provides artists with an opportunity to redefine a particular space with a new historical, political, or aesthetic light. Contrary to traditional forms of site-specific installation, the presence of AR art does not require permission from authorities that have jurisdiction over the physical space. This unique liberty is exemplified by 4Gentlemen’s installations Goddess of Democracy and Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, projects which certainly would have been obstructed by the Chinese government if it was not for the discreetly expressive nature of AR technology. Thus, in many respects, AR has made the whole world a canvas for new media art.

Moreover, artists and audiences alike are often challenged to think beyond their native cultures and landscapes in this global age. While environmental, economic, and political issues have come to span across the entire world, individuals often find themselves acquainted with unfamiliar peoples, places, and history. AR art corresponds precisely to this globalizing trend because it provides artist with an expressive medium that could take form anywhere in the world in a direct and efficient manner.

AR art is a “realistic” art style- not only because it stands against the backdrop of the real physical world, but also because it requires artists to ponder on the relationship between the physical setting and their virtual sculptures. It is only when a concordance exists between these two domains that compelling and relevant ideas could be put forth. In this way, the artist is able to present their own take on reality to the audience through their mobile devices, unraveling a new “realism” of the digital age.

The AR exhibition that is to be held at the at Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Garden and Cultural Station 284 in Seoul will embody all of such concepts discussed above. We would like to thank Digital Art Weeks International Festival 2014 as well as all contributing artists for making this invaluable opportunity possible.



Background information for participating artists and audience:

Location One:

Culture Station 281 Seoul

The old building of the Seoul train station was designed by Tsukamoto Yasushi, a professor of Tokyo University. Construction of the station started in June, 1922 and was completed in September, 1925. Due to its unique domed roof and large size, the station attracted much attention in its early years.

After Korea regained its independence from under Japanese colonial rule, the station’s name was changed from ‘Gyeongseong Station’ to ‘Seoul Station’. During the Korean War, the station was partially destroyed but later restored. After Korea began industrializing after the war, the South annex and West annex were constructed to handle the increasing transportation volume.

In 2004 when the privately-funded new station was constructed, the old station closed down, but after reconstruction in 2011 opened as a multicultural space called ‘Culture Station Seoul 284’. The main section (Jungang Hall) is for performances, exhibitions, events, and cafés, while the 2nd floor houses a hall that serves as a venue for cultural performances, exhibitions, academic seminars, business meetings, and more.


More info, please read:


Location Two:

Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul

Taking up 60% of the entire area of Changdeokgung Palace, the Secret Garden (‘Biwon’ in Korean) was a private garden where the kings and royal family members relax and enjoy the picturesque nature.

Changdeokgung’s rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called ‘Bukwon’ and ‘Geumwon,’ but was renamed ‘Biwon’ after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. Buyongjeong, Buyongji, Juhabru, Eosumun, Yeonghwadang, Bullomun, Aeryeonjeong, and Yeongyeongdang are some of the many pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.


Introductions by UNESCO & World Heritage Convention

Changdeokgung Palace had a great influence on the development of Korean architecture, garden and landscape planning, and related arts, for many centuries. It reflects sophisticated architectural values, harmonized with beautiful surroundings. The palace compound is an outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design, exceptional for the way in which the buildings are integrated into and harmonized with the natural setting, adapting to the topography and retaining indigenous tree cover.

The Daejojeon Hall nearby was for the use of the queen. The garden was landscaped with a series of terraces planted with lawns, flowering trees, flowers, a lotus pool, and pavilions set against a wooded background. There are over 26,000 specimens of 100 indigenous trees in the garden. To these should be added 23,000 planted specimens of 15 imported species, including yew, stone pine, white pine, gingko and Chinese junipers.

Watch video:


History of Changdeogung:





14. April 2014, Seoul

Dear Lily & Honglei,


This is a formal invitation letter to attend the Digital Art Weeks festival in Seoul.

The ETH Zurich based festival Digital Art Weeks is a meeting point between art, science and technology. Over the last eight years, DAW has been fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange worldwide. Its program offers a unique insight into current research and innovations in arts, science and technology illustrating resulting synergies in a series  of interdisciplinary projects, making artist aware of impulses in technology and scientists aware of the possibilities of application of technology in the arts.

This year, the festival is organized in collaboration with Seoul National University, Sogang University, KAIST University,
National Chengchi University, Museum of Art on the SNU campus and Platoon Kunsthalle.

The festival will take place from the 2nd of October to 8th of December 2014 and includes the following events:

  1. Hybrid Highlights Exhibition in the Museum of Arts (MoA)

  2. The Conference on Convergence and Creativity Museum of Arts (MoA)

  3. OFF Label exhibition and performances in Platoon Kunsthalle Seoul

  4. Augmented Reality exhibition in the Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Garden and Culture Station 281 Seoul

Your work regarding the themes of the Hybrid Highlights Exhibition as well as the OFF LABEL event represents an important contribution that will influence collaborative nature of the Festival. Due to funding guidelines and high cost of holding the festival, we have very limited possibilities of support. Therefore, we are providing this letter in hope that it will facilitate the access to other funding sources that are available to you. The festival in turn will provide a unique opportunity to present in diverse context with high level of visibility, which will inevitable further your career and offer future opportunities internationally.



Arthur Clay

Director DAW International


DAW Seoul Update

Dear DAW Participants,

We hope you are all doing well and enjoying the early spring weather. We are now in the middle of preparation for the DAW Seoul and would like to share with you some updates on the festival planning.

This year DAW festival will include the following events:

Hybrid Highlights Exhibition in MoA (Museum of Modern Art) Seoul


Participating Artists:
Jin-Kyu Jung, Simon Schubiger-Banz, Raffaello D’andrea, Enrico Costanza,
Jackson 2Bears, Ted Hiebert, Doug Jarvis, Haru Ji & Graham Wakefield,
K-Soul  & Jardin Cosmique, EPFL- Human Brain Project, John Craig Freeman,
Laile Pasquale, Selected Swiss Game Artist Designers


The Conference on Convergence and Creativity in MoA (Museum of Modern Art)

Convergence Section- Dae-Shik Kim and Bernhard Egger
Creativity Section- Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield
Hybridization Section- Lichia Saner-Yiu and Raymond Saner

4.10.2014 Convergence Section
11.10.2014 Creativity Section
18.10.2014 Hybridization Section


OFF Label exhibition and performances at Platoon Kunsthalle Seoul

3-5.10.2014 Performances
7-12.10.2014 Exhibitions

Participating Artists:
Urich Lau, Lim Shengen, K-soul, Stefan Mueller Arizona in collaboration
with Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Marcel Gaspar, Teow Yue Han


Augmented Reality exhibition in the Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Garden
and Culture Station 281 Seoul

Lily & Honglei art studio, new media art

Ancient painting of Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lily & Honglei


Participating Artists:
Guests Artists Taipei, Virtuale Switzerland (Peter Aerschmann, Curious
Minds, Franzsika Furter, Herve Grauman, Michael Spahr)


Digital Art Weeks


Lily & Honglei new media artist, new media art China, venice biennale,, Lily & Honglei Chinese contemporary artists

Lily & Honglei: Crystal Coffin-Virtual China Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennial


by SIMONA LODI, Art Director Share Festival , Curator, Art Critic


The text analyzes the work of artists who use augmentation, information and immersion in specifc contexts—public orprivate spaces. Te aim of the analysis is to understand socio-cultural transformations in the felds of art and technologyin social space and what new forms of aggregation and participation have developed, providing an opportunity to refecton new concepts of democracy that are emerging in our global media age. Te question underlying the study is how doartists who use augmentation, information and immersion give new meaning to the concept of public space, changingthe proprietary boundaries of that space and concept of what it is to perceive reality.

Manifest.AR members John Craig Freeman and Sander Veenhof, with Simona Lodi from the Invisible Pavilion, at Venice Biennial 2011 Opening

Manifest.AR members John Craig Freeman and Sander Veenhof, with Simona Lodi from the Invisible Pavilion, at Venice Biennial 2011 Opening

Working on the Invisible Pavilion project for the 54th Venice Biennale, it so happened that we came across another group of artists working on much the same issue, so we decided to cooperate with them and launch ajoint attack on the Biennale from diferent fronts and perspectives. In June 2011, the cutting-edgeinternational cyberartist group Manifest.AR¹¹ issued a statement to the general public and to the presidentand director of the 54th Venice Biennale informing them that they had created additional pavilions in theGiardini concourse, built in the new medium of augmented reality, and that some of the works had leakedout into the public space of Saint Mark’s Square. Te artists Mark Skwarek, Sander Veenhof, Tamiko Tiel,Will Peppenheimer, John Craig Freeman, Lily and Hong Lei, Naoko Tosa and John Cleater all took partdirectly in the project.

Tamiko Thiel, with Simona Lodi and Gionatan Quintini from the Invisible Pavilion

Tamiko Thiel, with Simona Lodi and Gionatan Quintini from the Invisible Pavilion

As Tamiko Tiel explains:

“Augmented reality has redefned the meaning of ‘public space.’ As corporations privatize many public spaces and governments put the rest under surveillance, augmented reality artists take over the invisible but actual realm that overlays real space with multiple parallel universes. Augmented reality actualizes the metaverse in the real universe, merging the digital and the real into a single, common space. Augmented reality can conquer space but it is not indifferent to space. With my artworks you must negotiate real space in order to view the works. They are usually not single images or objects, but installations that surround you. In order to look at them you must move your body in space, looking up, down and twisting around.12” In Shades of Absence: Outside Inside, Tamiko Tiel inserted into the closed curatorial space of the Giardini concourse in Venice the silhouetted fgures of artists who have been threatened with arrest or physical violence. Regardless of whether they are outsiders or insiders to the Art System, known internationally or only within small circles, their work has excluded these artists from the safety of protected space.

More info:

Read the entire article here.

by Senior editor & artistic director Lanfranco Aceti, editor & curator Özden Şahin, associate editor Andrea Ackerman

Uncontainable – ISEA2011 Istanbul: Some Thoughts After The Fact

When talking about ISEA2011 Istanbul one of the things I believe will remain as a legacy of the symposium is its magnitude. ISEA2011 was the most attended to date with almost 1500 attendees, the last count we had was of 1489, and it had over 100 artists – the ones we could account for – who participated and engaged with the city in multiple ways, authorized and non.

Manifest.AR is an international artists group working with emergent forms of mobile augmented reality as interventionist public art, using this new art medium to transform public space and challenge institutional structures. Geolocating 3D computer graphic artworks at selected sites, they respond to and overlay the physical locations with new meanings, pushing the boundaries between the real and the virtual.

Collectively and individually, Manifest.AR members exhibit and intervene around the world. After their pathbreaking intervention at MoMA NY in 2010 they set their sights on the Venice Biennial, creating the artworks that are mirrored in the Kasa Gallery exhibition „Not There“ during the ISEA Istanbul Festival. Participating artists are: Tamiko Thiel, John Craig Freeman, Lily and Honglei, Will Pappenheimer, Naoko Tosa, Mark Skwarek, Sander Veenhof, John Cleater.


Over the last few years, we have been witness to the emergence of the use of the virtual in public space. The manifestation of the virtual and the interplay of it with the real are changing the concept of public space and the perception of art that is now being presented in it. The integration process of the virtual into the real is also clearly affecting the way in which cultural institutions are now presenting and meditating art, as well as how this process is bringing the demand for new and innovate ways to link the virtual to the real GDR Fig 1. Photo of a Banksy graffiti work at the Israeli West Bank barrier in Bethlehem This change to the virtual has its root in the rise of affordable mobile technology and innovative software applications such as LAYAR and Junaio, which have allowed artists to make use of them in new ways. The application mobile technology in the realm of the arts has lead to completely new forms of art and has brought about new ways to consume and mediate it outside of the practices of established platforms such as museums and galleries. Further, artists have also found new solutions in terms of presentation and the ability to position “art” per se as an integral part of the community. The availability of art has increased and is now being consumed by a larger, more diverse audience. New aesthetics have emerged and are still maturing from the mobile arts movement and the way of understanding the arts today for artists, curators, theorists, and arts manager now entails intermediating between the real and the virtual, as well as between the artist and the larger non-museum going public.

Fig 2.  “AR Skywriting” by Will Pappenheimer

What is Augmented Reality Art?

In a similar way to the British graffiti artist, Banksy who in the early 90s’ went beyond the gallery walls by adding a touch of optical integration into street art, artists using Augmented Reality today to virtually place their work in public space can be understood more or less as the technically hip graffiti artists creating the street art of the 21st century. They, like Bansky have re-validated public space as a viable venue for the arts. But what exactly is Augmented Reality and how does it work? In its simplest sense, Augmented Reality enhances a real-world environment with graphics, audio or other stored or generated media. In this way, Augmented Reality is really the art of combining virtual content with physical reality. It can also involve engagement through interactivity and force the viewer into proactive participation in a way yet unknown to the art world.

Lily & Honglei new media art, new media artist from China

Lily & Honglei: Butterfly Lovers augmented reality art

Fig. 3. 2D AR Artwork (“Butterfly Lovers” by Lily & Honglei, Virtuale in Hong Kong 2013 during SIGGRAPH Asia)

Diverse Approaches to AR

AR artists have taken diverse approaches in terms of creating artworks using AR technology and these approaches can be passive or active in terms of interactivity and can include moving or non-moving images in 2D and or 3D. However, the art-object itself is actually of second importance, because the actual context of the artwork and how the visitor “explores” the work plays much more of a decisive role in terms of the artwork’s identity.

Fig. 4. 3D AR Artwork (“Orators” by John Craig Freeman, Virtuale in Hong Kong 2013 during SIGGRAPH Asia)

It is also important to understand that some AR artworks are viewable at only specific locations while others are viewable everywhere. In the opinion of the authors, those artworks that are at fixed locations tend to be of more relevance to the genre, because they stand in a more intimate relationship to the environment that they are placed in, offering a stronger dialog between the work and its locations. Some AR artworks are always facing you, meaning that the spatial relationship between the viewer and the artwork stays in constant relationship, but a few AR Artworks allow you to walk into them, letting the viewer explore them from the inside as well as from the outside.

Fig. 5. AR Artwork that is explored from the inside out (“Funnels” by Will Pappenheimer, No Need for Real Exhibition, Triennial di Milano)

Beyond Virtual Graffiti: Interactivity

Interactivity belongs to a second generation of AR artworks and it is important factor, because its use affects how an AR artwork appears and more so how it redefines the virtual space it is occupying. This type of interaction is unique to the genre and perhaps for the first time in history that the viewer is able to physically explore an artwork in such a way. In “Things We Have Lost” by John Craig Freeman, EEG is used to create interactivity between the viewer and the artwork. The work uses a database of objects that were collected by first asking the people what they’ve lost. These include a broad range of lost items from the usual things such as wallets, watches and money to less usual such as pensions, empires and dodo birds. During viewing, the participants conjure up the virtual objects by simply imagining them into existence using the brainwave sensor technology provided as they walk through the city. With the artwork, “Biomer Skelters” by Will Pappenheimer and Tamiko Thiel, it can be seen that AR has moved from its initial Bansky like beginning to fully interactive mobile artwork. For this work, a tour guide, wearing a heart rate monitor plants indigenous or exotic vegetation as they move through the city. Technically this works as follows.

Fig 6. “Drone” by Will Pappenheimer (Window Zoos Exhibition, DAW Singapore 2013)

The heart rate of each tour guide is picked up and then transmitted via Bluetooth to an Android cell phone. The tour guide starts a custom program and begins walking through the city and the phone begins to vibrate as vegetation is planted. The guide can walk as long as wanted, planting vegetation. In terms of the group being guided, each of its members uses an iPad or a cell phone logged onto the Biomer Skelters Layar from which they can view the creation trail and population of vegetation created by the guide.

From Pleasure to Politics

Works using AR are not only genre works or “art for art” per se. On account of the tools involved, how the artworks use public space, and the connections that can be made between the artwork and space, they are able to pick up on make diverse statements, become integral parts of missions (such as Sustainability) and take on diverse forms of representations and communication. The international arts group ManifestAr is a collective of artists working in diverse ways with the technology, but who as a group have been exhibiting worldwide. Their manifest gives some insight into to possible roles of AR artworks: ”Augmented Reality is a new Form of Art, but it is Anti-Art. It is Primitive, which amplifies its Viral Potency. It is Bad Painting challenging the definition of Good Painting. It shows up in the Wrong Places. It Takes the Stage without permission. It is Relational Conceptual Art that Self-Actualizes”.

Read more on Tafter Journal N. 66, December 2013

Collaborating with John Craig Freeman, our new AR project “From Lewisburg to Silicon Valley” is participating Zero 1 Biennial 2012 in San Jose, CA, Sept. 12 – Dec. 8, 2012, with a Media Preview at Catherine Clark Gallery’s New York Pop-Up Space in May 2012.

Mobile phone screenshot of AR project ‘From Lewisburg to Silicon Valley’

The connection from Lewisburg Pennsylvania to the high-tech corporate campuses of Silicon Valley can be traced in the migration of the worlds manufacturing on its never ending quest for the least expensive, least regulated labor force and the trail of economic devastation it leaves in its wake. Viewed through their own mobile device, the “From Lewisburg, PA to Silicon Valley” augmented reality public art projects asks the audience to consider their own implications in this global history.
– John Craig Freeman,  From Lewisburg, PA to Silicon Valley

MANIFEST.AR @ ZERO1 Biennial 2012 

ManifestAR_Silicon Valley Global 2_by Tamiko Thiel.jpg
  • ManifestAR_signs-over-semiconductors-draw1_b.jpg ManifestAR_15 Minute Companies_by Sander Veenhof.jpg Bottomless_Pit_Skwarek.jpg apple_campus.jpg

Commissioned by the Samek Gallery at Bucknell University for the ZERO1 Biennial and presented in collaboration with ZERO1

The collective proposes to establish an onsite installation for exhibition at the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial with parallel components at the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University in Lewisburg Pennsylvania. Titled “Manifest.AR @ ZERO1,” the group will draw on collective art practices centered around mobile augmented reality apps that aggregate and map a series of works re-imagining and reinterpreting the high-tech corporate campuses and products of Silicon Valley. Performative and site-specific works will be created around the cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Lewisburg.

Manifest.AR is an international artists’ collective working with emergent forms of augmented reality as interventionist public art. The group sees this medium as a way of transforming public space and institutions by installing virtual objects, which respond to and overlay the configuration of located physical meaning. Utilizing this technology as artwork is an entirely new proposition and explores all that we know and experience as the mixture of the real and the hyper-real.

For more information, visit

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