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Olafur Eliasson creates augmented reality artwork in quarantine

The Danish-Icelandic conceptual artist has launched a new augmented reality (AR) project in conjunction with digital art app Acute Art.

The initiative, dubbed “Wunderkammer” (Cabinet of Curiosities), takes the form of “an intriguing collection of natural elements, small artworks and experiments” from Eliasson’s studio rendered in AR.

Olafur Eliasson
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson poses in front of his artwork “Moss wall.” Image: AFP/Ander Gillenea via AFP Relaxnews

“Wunderkammer” features AR sculptures that users can virtually place around their homes, including flowers, rare birds, insects, the Northern Lights, a compass that always points North and a Little Sun, Eliasson’s solar-powered lantern.

“The artwork is about challenging our perception of the everyday and actively welcoming that which lies on the boundary between the known and the unknown. It is about creating spaces that meld the everyday and the extraordinary—spaces that evoke vivid perceptions and embodied engagement,” Eliasson said of the initiative in a statement.

The Danish-Icelandic artist will add more ephemeral phenomena and artistic experiments to the collection, which is available to experience for free through the Acute Art app.

While “Wunderkammer” marks his first foray into AR, it is the second digital project Eliasson has released amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conceptual artist debuted in April a new participatory artwork in celebration of Earth Day, which was commissioned by London’s Serpentine Galleries as part of their “Back to Earth” program.

Eliasson released nine colored images of the Earth with a dot in the center of the sphere, which are collectively titled “Earth Perspectives.”

Viewers are invited to stare at the dot for 10 seconds and then focus their gaze on a blank surface where an afterimage will appear in different colors.

The “Earth Perspectives” initiative invites people around the world to think about the state of the Earth while collectively envisioning a better future.

“Today, ‘the world as we know it’ is a phrase of the past. The current health crisis has brought our societies close to a halt, affecting our economies, our freedoms and even our social ties. We must take the time to empathize with all those struck by the crisis and also seize this opportunity to imagine together the earth that we want to inhabit in the future—in all its wonders and beauty, in the face of all the challenges ahead of us,” Eliasson said of the initiative in a statement. CL /ra


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