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

Augmented Reality as Everyday Reality

Alina Nazmeeva - currents
Participant scans the QR code for “currents” by Alina Nazmeeva and Alex Kosnett, in order to activate AR functions through Instagram. (Credit: Yabsira Wolde)

In order to activate each art installation, participants were invited to scan QR codes placed on a variety of objects, from the sides of buildings to hand-held wooden popsicle sticks. Doing so would activate the AR filters through Instagram, superimposing digital imagery over the physical world, which participants could manipulate and play with in real-time. The popsicle stick, for example, was the piece entitled “AR+Pops: Home Here,” created by Portland-based artist Nina Vichayapai. A blackberry lemon balm (invasive species) popsicle was distributed for participants to consume; afterwards, the QR code could still be scanned, and a virtual, stylized popsicle populated the once-empty space.

As Future Arts’ co-founders, Bruk, Czoski, and Garcia have long been wanting to showcase the possibilities of technology-based art. While they recognize that AR is not new — its first iteration was developed at Harvard in 1968 — the medium is becoming more ubiquitous.

“People don’t even recognize that face filters are augmented reality,” says Czoski, who has experience in UX/UI design. “That’s fascinating to me. [AR has] just become part of the digital landscape that we take for granted, so what I loved about AUGMENT is that [the artists] used AR in so many different ways… and really showed… [the] depth of [AR] applications.”

Nina Vichayapai - AR+Pops
Digital and edible versions of “AR+Pops: Home Here,” by Nina Vichayapai. (LEFT) Credit: Yuliya Bruk (RIGHT) Credit: Katharina Brinschwitz

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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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Written by Katharina Brinschwitz
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