New York's New Museum, which has already launched a fair share of tech-forward initiatives like net-art preservation and theorization platform Rhizome and NEW INC, has teamed up with Apple over the past year-and-a-half to create a new augmented reality (AR) program called [AR]T. New Museum director Lisa Phillips and artistic director Massimiliano Gioni selected artists Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Cao Fei, John Giorno, Carsten Höller, and Pipilotti Rist to create new installations that display the artistic potential of AR and help advance the museum’s own mixed-reality strategy. Each of the artists will create interactive AR artworks that can be viewed via iPhones with the [AR]T app on “choreographed” street tours that will begin in a limited number of Apple stores across six cities. Users will be able to capture the mixed reality installations in photos and video through their phones. Additionally, Nick Cave has created an AR installation titled Amass that can be viewed in any Apple store, and the company has worked with artist and educator Sarah Rothberg to help develop programs to initiate beginners into developing their own AR experiences. This announcement comes on the heels of much industry AR and VR speculation regarding Apple, in part encouraged by recent hires from the gaming industry, like that of Xbox co-creator Nat Brown, previously a VR engineer at Valve. While some artists, institutions, and architects have embraced AR and VR, many remain skeptical of the technology, and not just on artistic grounds. Writing in the Observer, journalist Helen Holmes wonders if “Apple wants the public to engage with their augmented reality lab because they want to learn as much about their consumers as possible, including and especially how we express ourselves creatively when given new tools.” The [AR]T app will drop on August 10th in the following cities: New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo
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For the concurrent opening of EXPO Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, artist Nick Cave and architect Jeanne Gang put on a show few are likely to forget. The first performance of their collaboration, Here Hear Chicago. took place on September 13 at Navy Pier’s AON Grand Ball Room for a capacity crowd during EXPO’s Vernissage. Subsequent shows will take place over the weekend for the public. The buzzing atmosphere of EXPO’s preview night was overtaken by the sound of drums a half hour before the scheduled start of the performance, as a parade of Cave's uncanny “Soundsuit”-clad performers marched between the stalls of the international art show. Guests ran to get a look and cheered the scene as the performers made their way to the grand ballroom. Before entering the space, the troop moved through a forest of six-foot tall “buoys,” made by Studio Gang. Each performer wove and danced around the more than 200 teetering chrome Mylar objects as the crowd followed. Nick Cave-Jeanne Gang: Here Hear Chicago (Courtesy Spirit of Space) from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. The show itself began in a more muted key. Set to the haunting music of composer Kahil El'Zabar, Cave and a group of young men took the stage. Sitting perfectly still for a full half hour, each was attended to by a white-clad attendant who slowly and methodically dressed them in colorful fur soundsuits. When they finally stood, bodies completely abstracted, the crowd roared their approval. For the next 45 minutes, the performers moved through the space, interacting with each other and the crowd. Most of the time their bodies were abstracted and concealed. A fleeting glimpse of a foot or hand shooting out from the exorbitant costuming was the only hint of humanity in the alien forms. Guttural calls and howls by the performances accompanied El'Zabar’s abstract jazz, with the occasional call back from members of the audience. In the last moments of the show, Nick Cave set the long line of buoys lining the stage into movement. For those who may have hoped that the Studio Gang-designed elements would have played a larger role in the performance, this was the apex. Once the show was complete, many guests rushed to engage with the playful forms. Here Hear Chicago was part of the kick-off of the sixth EXPO CHICAGO international art exhibition and the second Chicago Architecture Biennial. EXPO runs from September 13 through September 17 at Navy Pier, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 16 through January 7, 2018 at various venues, with a main exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.
As details begin to emerge surrounding EXPO Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, this latest announcement brings together one of Chicago’s favorite artists with one of its favorite architects. Scheduled to debut during EXPO’s vernissage on September 13th, Jeanne Gang and her office Studio Gang Architects have teamed up with artist Nick Cave to produce a new performance piece. Entitled Here Hear, the collaboration will have performers “intersect and respond to a field of dynamic, custom-fabricated objects.” Dressed in Nick Cave’s fantastical "Soundsuits," performers will enact Cave's latest choreographed Up Right Chicago as well as his HEARD performance. All of this will presumably take place in an environment designed by Studio Gang, all to the music of Chicago Jazz musician Kahil El Zabar. “Up Right Chicago is a call to arms, head and heart, with each performance preparing the initiates’ mind, body and spirit to face the forces that stand in the way of selfhood,” said Cave in a press release. “Through movement, ritual and song, performers enter a world they have complete control over, like warriors of their own destiny.” The new Up Right Chicago performance involves ten “initiates”—members of the community—as well as ten “practitioners,” including Cave and his partner Bob Faust. “Like Cave’s works, the objects blur the boundary between audience and performer,” said Gang. “People will engage with the objects, making them performative and expanding the collaboration to the city of Chicago.” After the first performance, the show will be moved to the outdoors to Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Performance Lawn to be performed on September 16th as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. EXPO has also hinted that there may be additional performances, saying a full schedule will be released later in the summer.