June 10, 2011

"Water wARs, 2010" by John Craig Freeman is among the images in the ongoing "Not Here" exhibit.

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, PA. — The Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University, in partnership with the international art collective MANIFEST.AR, has launched an "augmented reality" exhibition that allows visitors to "see" artwork transposed on various locations around campus with their mobile web devices.

"Not Here" is set up entirely outside the gallery walls as a "guerilla" exhibition that simultaneously launched at Bucknell and at the Venice Biennale, the world's largest contemporary art festival, underway in Italy.

Best known for its unsanctioned, augmented reality exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2010, MANIFEST.AR has constructed virtual pavilions at the festival, which comprises about 30 buildings, without the permission of the Biennale festival officials.

Augmented reality
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality is the art of overlaying virtual content on top of physical reality. Using AR apps on smart phones, viewers look at the real world around them through their phone's camera lens, while the app inserts additional images or three-dimensional objects into the scene. Also unlike virtual reality, augmented reality projects cannot be viewed from everywhere; instead they are sited using GPS coordinates.

The artworks created for this project can be viewed only from specific locations in Venice and at Bucknell University — outside the Samek Art Gallery doors and in front of the Elaine Langone Center, the Art Building, the Stadler Poetry Center, and the President's House.

New direction
Richard Rinehart, recently appointed director of the Samek Art Gallery, said the project signals a new direction for the Samek Art Gallery as an "academic art laboratory."

"These artworks are more of a social experiment than a technnological one, but the technology enables the social commentary to go in new directions," he said. "Collaborating with innovative artists like MANIFEST.AR and experimenting with our own exhibition format seem natural for a gallery that is sited within an institution devoted to intellectual inquiry."

Those wishing to view the artwork at Bucknell may do so by using their smartphones and visiting the Samek Art Gallery website for instructions (http://bucknell.edu/samek). The exhibition began on Saturday and continues through Nov. 27.

Contact: Division of Communications