An Augmented Reality Tour of Central Park

Artists Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller, Pipilotti Rist and John Giorno have created a series of “installations” for an augmented reality tour through Central Park. Sponsored by Apple and the New Museum, the walking tours are open and free to the public as of this weekend, but reservations are filling up quickly.

Apple began an initiative called [AR]T where augmented art is featured in a number of guided walks in major cities throughout the US.  All start from an Apple store. In New York, this store is on Fifth Avenue and East 58th Street. The participants are given headphones and an iPhone; the art can’t be downloaded on a personal phone.  The viewers head into Central Park, and at various stops along the tour, the art appears on the iPhone screen, floating or otherwise interacting with its leafy surroundings. There is also a virtual exhibit in every Apple store by artist Nick Cave.

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This is one of the great new mediums for art: the world itself.

Augmented reality technology gives those willing to learn the ability to create visual and auditory artifacts through software.  These artifacts can interact with or play off the view, location, or other inputs of the device in question.  Users can hold up their phone to a statue and see a snake wind its way up. Walking into certain locations could activate information or art relevant to them.  Along with this, users can interact with that art or information, making the medium as much a product of its environment as of its interplay with the user.

AR also has recreational applications.

A popular example of AR used for play is the game Pokémon Go. The game lets users walk around the real world, and see virtual Pokémon in their parks, offices and homes.  They then attempt to fight or capture them using the on screen controls.  The line between the real world and the interactive elements can often blend and even blur easily with augmented reality.

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The applications of augmented reality, both aesthetic and functional, are vast.  And the more artists are willing to embrace and master new technologies, particularly such visual technologies as augmented reality, the more room they’ll have to explore different concepts and mediums.  While skill in many of these new technologies often implies some level of software expertise, the reward can be substantial. New experiences can be created that were difficult or impossible in older mediums.  These technologies also present a path where artists and IT experts can collaborate and combine their skills to a greater whole.

Apple stores will also feature a lab for exploring augmented reality technologies and learning how to use and create your own.  Additionally, Coursera offers multiple free learning classes for AR along with Udacity, and Udemy offers paid courses.

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David Cunningham

David Cunningham

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David Cunningham is a blogger and software developer living in the Upper West Side. He loves writing, running around Riverside Park, shopping at Fairway and Zabar’s, and working on web apps in his free time. He moved to New York in 2018 after spending five years working as a developer in Huntsville, Alabama (the home of Space Camp). He is currently building a tech blog platform called Dabbling In, and you can learn more about him at his website, cunningdj.com

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