‘Invisible’ augmented reality art will soon appear around botanic garden

Entertainment

ENCINITAS, Calif. — A new show called “Seeing the Invisible” will soon allow visitors to the San Diego Botanic Garden to do exactly that: view dynamic art pieces that are impossible to see with the naked eye.

The show will feature works by 13 international artists, who each created pieces using augmented reality, a technique that layers digital renderings on to the physical world when viewed through a phone or tablet.

San Diegans may be familiar with the technique from the wildly popular Pokémon Go game that saw residents taking to the streets with their phones to collect AR versions of game characters around town in 2016.

Starting in September, visitors to the 37-acre garden in Encinitas will use the technology to check out three-dimensional artwork from contemporary artists, staged throughout the venue to appear when viewed through a free app available in Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

The “Seeing The Invisible” show is playing out as a collaboration among botanical gardens around the world, with a dozen gardens participating across six countries.

In a news release, the San Diego garden’s staff described the show as “the most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality.”

“Coming out of the pandemic when outdoor experiences and nature have taken on a new meaning and gravity in our lives, this exhibition represents a fresh way for people to engage with art and nature simultaneously,” the show’s co-curator Tal Michael Haring said in a statement.

“The interplay of these augmented reality works in vibrant natural settings breaks down the binary between what is often considered ‘natural’ versus ‘digital’, and in this way provides an exhibition experience that is much more connected to the way we live today.”

The exhibition opens in September and more information on admission will be published on the San Diego Botanic Garden website.

Learn more about the international project on the “Seeing The Invisible” website.

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