Apple Transforms Central Park Into an Augmented Actuality Gallery


Words appeared in the sky, the color of clouds, and then faded into a jumble of letters in the background. It was an ephemeral poem, with lines like “Catch the falling knife” visible for a few seconds through the portal of an iPhone pointed at the skyline above Central Park.

This is a piece by the poet and performance artist John Giorno, called “Now at the Dawn of My Life,” that’s part of a new initiative by Apple called [AR]T — a curation of augmented reality art, featured in a series of guided walks. Apple worked with the New Museum to select the artists: Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg, Hans Berg, Cao Fei, Carsten Höller, Pipilotti Rist and Mr. Giorno. Each created an augmented reality work that’s been choreographed into the landscape of the tour, playing with the canvas of public space.

“The New Museum has always led at the intersection of art and tech and we could not have asked for a better partner in Apple to support the fantastic visions of these pioneering artists,” Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum, said in a statement. Augmented reality can extend an artist’s practice into the urban space, she added.

The walking tours will be free and open to the public starting on Saturday, and in addition to New York, will be offered in San Francisco, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Each starts from an Apple Store and features the same set of works. The pieces are only accessible at specific locations on the walk, making them installations of a sort, in an open-air, virtually accessible exhibit. The initiative also includes a piece by Mr. Cave, “Amass,” that will be on view in every Apple store, as well as a lab for those interested in learning more about augmented reality and working with it.

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