Future Arts Interview: Recontextualizing “Nature as Queen” in a New Media World

In the recent past, the term “new media” has grown to encompass artists who work in any sort of digital medium. Under that blanket term, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been gaining traction in many techno-social spheres. Future Arts — a Seattle-based women and nonbinary-led nonprofit founded in early 2021 by artists Yuliya Bruk, Anna Czoski, and Laara Garcia — actively keeps a pulse on emerging digital storytellers, with the hope of facilitating spaces that will connect those in the booming tech industry to the city’s artists.

Alina Nazmeeva - currents
In “currents” by Alina Nazmeeva and Alex Kosnett, augmented reality is used to superimpose a holographic salmon run in place of a construction site where a new high-rise will emerge in the coming months. (Credit: Yabsira Wolde)

For three weeks at the end of August 2022, Future Arts hosted their first outdoor showcase, AUGMENT Seattle, in the tech-centered South Lake Union neighborhood. The result was a stunning display of the scale and range that AR has to offer as an arts medium. With a total of nine immersive art engagements created by 17 local and international artists, AUGMENT “rewilded” concrete buildings with 3-dimensional imagery of Indigenous and non-native plants, schools of salmon gliding on wind currents, and abstract, glitched-out bodies strutting invisible runways.

“There really is a breadth of ways that [AR] could interact with the environment,” says Bruk, a new media artist who had almost a decade of experience at Amazon, and Future Arts’ only full-time staff member. “We want to keep people rooted in this world, and AR does that.”

Marjan Moghaddam - GlitchGoddess
REDEFINE writers Vee Hua (L) and Katharina Brinschwitz on a press ARTour of the AUGMENT exhibit, featuring “#GlitchGoddess” by Marjan Moghaddam in the foreground. (Credit: Anna Czoski)

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Written by
Katharina Brinschwitz

Katharina 梁美花 Brinschwitz (she/they) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who tells stories about identity, difference, and belonging as a means to intervene with oppressive forms of meaning-making. She has an intimate understanding of the power and responsibility that comes with media production and hopes to engage other artists, locally and globally, who are challenging colonialist-anthropological views through their art practice. She believes art can facilitate unprecedented healing for the community and earth. As a storyteller, their writing is colored through embodied wisdom of being a queer, neurodivergent, first-generation Asian-American femme. From birth to present day, they have lived and created on the unceded lands of the Duwamish Tribe and have immense gratitude for the land, sea, and the Coast Salish People who, since time immemorial, have been caring for them.

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