ManifestAR is an international artists’ collective working with emergent forms of augmented reality as interventionist public art. The group sees this medium as a way of transforming public space and institutions by installing virtual objects, which respond to and overlay the configuration of located physical meaning. Utilizing this technology as artwork is an entirely new proposition and explores all that we know and experience as the mixture of the real and the hyper-real. Physically, nothing changes, the audience can simply download and launch an Augmented Reality Browser app on their iPhone or Android and aim the devices’ camera to view the world around them. The application uses geolocation, marker tracking and image recognition software to superimpose computer generated three-dimensional art objects, enabling the public to see the work integrated into the physical location as if it existed in the real world.
The Manifest.AR collective and individual members have produced projects, exhibitions and interventions worldwide, including in New York, Venice, Istanbul, Beijing, Cairo, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Berlin. As reported in the New York Times, “The Museum of Modern Art was the site of another Layar exhibition. The Conflux Festival in New York held a show in October, using Layar on smartphones to display art in the museum’s galleries without first asking the museum. Ms. Burnette, the museum’s digital media director, was unfazed by this new use. “That’s something we were really excited to see,” she said. “For us, it means that they care about the museum enough to participate actively in it.”