Growing Panes

12 Performers, 13 Custom Designed Costumes, 12 Baskets, 250 Apples, 1 Clear Lucite Terrarium, 1 Garden Pick, 1 Shovel, 1 36x36x2 inch Plaster Panel, 6 Bags of Top Soil, 1 Porcelain Seed Vessel, 300 Pairs Custom AR Glasses.

Artist Statement

Growing Panes is a performance art piece that tests the limits of perception, reality and belief following the advent of Augmented Reality (AR). Augmented Reality enhances a user's perception of and interaction with the real world. Augmented Reality can play with the nature of perceived "reality." As such AR can be understood as a different human interface - a distinctive way of seeing, viewing, and interacting. Spectacle, nature, art, and technology are juxtaposed to query traditional utopian promises of technology. A white crust of plaster represents the membrane that separates man from that which brings forth life. This must be shattered in order for fruition to occur, reflecting the trauma of progress itself. This puncture exposes pure soil beneath within which a seed will be planted. Re-planting the tree of knowledge in a terrarium of pristine soil also raises the specter of Godot's metaphysical "waiting" tree. At this point participants are prompted to activate their AR glasses. The AR safety glasses with magnification lenses adorned with AR markers and RFID High Value Asset tracking devices do not independently activate. They exist to remind the spectator that it is the brain that sees. Filtration through augmentation, programming, lenses, or preconceptions is component to perception not apart. Feelings of anticipation, expectation and disillusionment upon the "failure" of the device to electronically perform are parlayed into a deliberation of our hope of technological deliverance. The fulfillment of augmented memory, vision, safety and reality via technological determinism are examined and literally magnified in the piece. Symbols of empowerment are gifted to the audience, but like Nietzsche's Ubermensch, the spectator must set their potential into action themselves.

Project Description

The Growing Panes Augmented Reality Performance commences with the distribution to spectators of AR Glasses individually designed and numbered. The artist appears on stage against a backdrop of costume-draped performers who sit in a row as a human backdrop holding baskets of apples. The artist stands before a terrarium of uncontaminated soil holding a garden pick and a shovel. He then begins to sing and chant to the earth, using his will power to charm and enchant nature. He then kneels before the terrarium and dramatically raises his pick over the soil. The audience, in suspense, is prompted through a projected visual on stage to "activate their AR Glasses." However, the instruction card that is enclosed in the Growing Panes AR Glasses pouch does not give instructions for activation of the apparatus. Rather it asks for answers to questions regarding Alternative Reality that suggest putting the spectacle into action through the power of thought while examining the functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The artist then shatters the plaster membrane that separates him from the soil with his pick and parts the shards revealing the dark earth beneath. He extracts a "seed of life" from a magical vessel and ceremoniously plants it in the dirt. The audience excitedly awaits the AR vision of the primordial tree of knowledge to become visible through the technological magic of the AR Glasses. But the vision fails to materialize. This disappointment draws viewers into a state of disillusionment with the failure of technology and confusion in terms of expectations. Following the performers forming the artist's backdrop carrying baskets of apples divide and filter off the stage and penetrate the audience to offering apples uttering: Seeb-be far-ma-id (please have an apple..) implying that the object has more value and significance than its illusion. The apple - the "real" fruit of the promised and undelivered "miraculous" technological apparition of the tree - stands in for popular technology, but also as traditionally understood, health, knowledge, innocence, sin, discord, rebirth, immortality, peace and beauty.

The Art & Patronage Summit is an invitation-only event for patrons, collectors, arts institution directors, curators, academics, artists, diplomats and other influential players involved in culture of and for the greater Middle East, including Turkey, Iran and North Africa. The Summit will enable both individuals and institutions to collaborate in support of the emerging Middle Eastern art scene and to shore up the infrastructural development of the region's art institutions. The Art & Patronage Report, a major three-part research project, the first attempt at cultural mapping of the greater Middle East, region by region, sector by sector, will build the first formal database of artistic production and organizational practices and infrastructures.