FutARism Manifesto

en   It

Project Description

Under the auspices of FutARism, Augmented Reality (AR) is employed as a new artistic medium. AR adds virtual content to a given space, which is then experienced in real-time and in semantic context with the real-world environment. “Taken” from the Westʼs most authoritative museums, canonical works of art will be used as AR tracked objects. New artwork will then be layered upon these objects, viewable with the smartphone application. This platform is intended as an alternative exhibition model for artists.

The iterations of FutARism to date include:

Artist Statement

A provocation and a proposition, FutARism hints at our future while it reckons with our present. The project seeks to explore the experiential, conceptual and legal shifts suggested by the advent of AR within the modalities of contemporary art, its practice and reception.

AR creates a peculiar kind of mischief making. It alters spatial understanding and relational fields while leaving the physical space untouched, presupposing a change in the choreography of the social. One will no longer be able to rely solely on first-hand sensory data to make sense of any given space. Rather, the knowledge of the co-existence of (potentially contextually contradictory) AR content must be accounted for in our quotidian phenomenology. In turn, AR confounds current definitions of physical property ownership, rupturing the relationship between the ownership of a space and the agency of its alteration, providing a platform for a new type of graffiti making as it defies our notions of sabotage, trespassing and vandalism.

My interest in AR as artistic practice stems from a larger fascination with the demarcation (and transgression) of authority. While museums are using this new technology for explanatory and programming purposes, such as the Louvre-DNP Museum Lab, they have yet to embrace it as art form, akin to the slow institutional acceptance of photography. I want to question the status of AR as a didactic tool as opposed to creative medium and problematize curatorial prerogative by bringing AR-as-art to the museum, exploiting museological fissures via the spatial possibilities AR creates. Like significant artworks in any medium, FutARism pursues transformational encounters and alterations of paradigms of visual reality.

By opening up the application to interested artists, this project not only seeks to question the dictates of institutional authority, but also intends to launch an international movement. This initiative eschews nostalgia for the great era of art manifestos. Though longing for inclusivity and participation, the movement is reflexive and facetious. Using the subversive joy of the Futurists and the semiological humor of Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images (1928-29) as touchstones, FutARism approaches the weight of the changes AR technology presupposes with a sense of self-aware hope.

FutARism Manifesto

The marker that led you here tonight itself is made from the convolution of a Sufi text. The original fable tells the tale of two spiritual masters who try to out do one another by walking on water and flying, respectively. A third master remarks that walking on water makes one akin to floating debris and flying akin to a fly; miraculous events do not bring us closer to the Beloved, but the very human act of love.

Here, in the city of cities, after built to fail, after the crash and whimper proved the material immateriality of things, FutARism emerges. We long to hold on to those rituals and traditions of eon that still resonate, while making new meaning from the ether. Augmented Reality is our tool; love, divine and exquisite, is our guide.

We wish to augment the world, not to take from it. To build up through playful critique. To imbricate more deeply ourselves into the flesh of the world. Our hearts are full and curious. The world has turned difficult. The seven steps below yield understanding of this new technological flesh.

  1. Radical subjectivities and bodies are mobilized
  2. The choreography of the social, augmented and reorganized
  3. Spectacle, not for spectacle’s sake, but for the joyful beauty of technological failure
  4. Reality is riddled with the superimposition of counter histories and desires
  5. Property is null and void, makes us vandals with(out) consequence
  6. The visible-invisible-visible butterflies dance and doge the digital candlelight
  7. A new exhibition platform rises…but this, too, shall pass