Perth International Arts Festival
Curated by Gemma Weston
February 7 - March 29, 2015
Subiaco pARk is a sculpture park with a difference.
Subiaco pARk draws inspiration directly from the picturesque grounds of Theatre Gardens. Artists were invited to respond to its landscape and architecture, proposing works that examined intersections between nature and culture, or engaged critically with public space. Theatre Gardens is designed in picturesque tradition of many public gardens. It is a serene space for pleasure and contemplation, a ‘break’ in the urban landscape, but one that presents an already ‘augmented’ and highly designed experience of nature. The addition of public artworks to a space or building is also intended to ‘augment’ the experience of those spaces – to offer a point of focus, to highlight aspects of the site’s meaning or history, or to stimulate discussion or play.
Traditionally, a sculpture park is a combination of these two ‘augmented realities’ – a manicured natural space in which aesthetic objects direct movement and contemplation. However, the use of augmented reality (AR) technology, which adds ‘objects’ that are invisible to the naked eye without altering the physical layout or characteristics of the park, offers an opportunity to direct audience attention towards the construction and function of the grounds themselves.
The phone or tablet used to experience the work mediates the viewer’s experience of the artwork, but it also visibly alters the behaviour of the viewer, who must actively participate by seeking out the works. In actively drawing the viewer’s attention to their engagement with the park, augmented reality can heighten and make visible the usual expectations and functions of public space, by extension examining what a public space, or garden, means to the community that uses it. It can be used to add to and manipulate nature with a lightness of touch that means that the experience of artwork and the experience of the park work in unison.
(pictured) Concept image for Calendar (II) by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah
Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Dan Bourke, Joshua Cobb-Diamond, Simone Johnston, Loren Kronemyer, Minaxi May, Joanne Richardson, Keiron Broadhurst