The BuZZZ



Project Description

This project represents the newest development of FutARism under the auspices of Augmented Reality (AR). As a minimal still life installation a faintly historical looking vase accompanied by an antique magnifying glass sit upon a pedestal covered with the artist's signature markers. Upon closer inspection, one recognizes that the found objects are incomplete: the magnifying glass is missing its lens, and the vase is empty. What are these fragments doing, exalted atop a pedestal? Affront this pedestal stands a FutARist viewing mechanism, implying audience participation with technology. Once behind the helm of the cybrid (Peter Anders, 2008), a scenario unfolds: A flower peeks out of the bud vase, and the lens is now present in the magnifying glass. The participants are invited to sing their childhood song of choice for the fly to enter the scene, and interact with them. If the (en)chanting continues for over 10 sec, the fly engages the viewer, returns the gaze by looking back through the magnifying glass. Upon close inspection of the fly, we discover that it does not like the viewer to get too close, too often, as it easily buzzes away.

Sing to it briefly- make it appear
Sing even longer- make a friend dear
Get too close- become a bore
Too much to bother- a friend no more

Artist Statement

Augmented Reality remains a very new addition to the realm of art, still in its adolescent phase of development. Despite dramatic development with technology and 3D modeling, the medium still hovers in- between worlds, strapped by a variety of technological restraints. This does not however seem to alter the awe and fascination that is afforded the audience. The audience observes the natural phenomena with a childlike determination and witnesses the virtual sculpture, alive, moving, and responsive to viewer voice and movement. It is precisely this fascination that drew me to the medium, and to develop the concept of FutARism as an exploration of the way that technology can influence our point of view, both literally and conceptually.
The scene recalls the experiments of early childhood when first discovering the properties of the magnifying glass: Perhaps roasting an insect, exploring a spider web, or examination of an anthill. I wish to inspire and create understanding about a pseudo shared state of curiosity with natural technology, the way things work, the mechanics of mother earth, and the delight in the micro cosmos. The vignette's heightened 3D AR detail has replaced the missing variables with vibrancies that have brought the artwork to life.
The medium also seems to conjure a utopian fascination with technology and it's ability to alter human perspective. This promise is nothing new, and critique of this relationship has developed in art for quite some times. Among these many works, Duchamp's early mixed media works incorporating lenses and 3D renderings suggested new forms of audience engagement. A century later, in the case of The BuZZZ, Augmented Reality seems to toy with the conventions of rendering and viewing, making the audience question what they are actually experiencing, colliding together virtuality and reality.
So why the fly? From early religious symbols of sin and corruption, to stigmata of death, to associations of Beezelbub, the minute culprit has continually retained its presence, remaining an "emblem of its own obstructive phenomenality." In this context, I feel as though the fly has assumed the role of spectacle, in the tradition of trompe l'oeil. Its presence is no mistake, but a conscious element that inspires meaning, value, and knowledge from which we can learn and absorb understanding. Also, and perhaps even more fundamentally, the fly is evoked in FutARism's Manifesto (Amir Baradaran, 2011), in a story recalled from an ancient Sufi text describing a competition between two masters caught in the spectacle, one who tries to walk on water, and one who tries to fly...
The fly, again.