Watch the Sky, 2016
Augmented reality re-envisioning of the Harlem Watchtower and virtual skywriting app
- Download the Layer app on your smartphone
- Scan the QR code (at site)
- Draw in the sky over the Harlem Watchtower
May 3, 2016 – May 31, 2016
Watch the Sky is a site-specific GPS-based augmented reality project that is visible and accessible virtually through mobile devices and online websites. The work re-envisions the Harlem Watchtower together with a virtual skywriting app that invites community participants to write and draw imagery over the park. Viewers and participants can download the free mobile app, “Layar”. Once the app is launched, “Watch The Sky” can be searched in “Geo Layers” or triggered in the “Scan” mode from QR codes on signs near the site and around the park. The work centers around the Harlem Watchtower at the top of the “acropolis” in Marcus Garvey Park, which is currently under renovation. It projects the need for a future much taller structure, “Harlem Watchtower+”, to survey the global affects of anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s technoscapes as they intersect with other dimensions of the current multi-valent landscape in flux. Thus the original fire watchtower extends its functions to global vigilance and wide ranging critical views as influences on the local neighborhoods and events. It will stand as a virtual skyscraper to counter balance the building heights and investment of downtown Manhattan. The invitation to create skywriting and sky drawing for the area represents an opportunity for the public to comment and transfigure the sky on a grand scale. In the technoscape, what was previously only accessible through expensive airplane flight in the physical world, is now possible virtually through common cell phones or mobile devices. The democratization of mediaspace, however utopian as it might seem, we have come to understand, has more complex and far-reaching consequences. The sites above which augmented reality skywriting will be sited will be chosen for their significance in Harlem cultural history and contemporary social transformation. Virtual skywriting above these locations will also be visible from the Marcus Garvey Park watchtower site in a 3 mile radius.
Will Pappenheimer is a Brooklyn based artist working in new media, performance, video and installation with an interest in shifting virtual and physical spatial and object relations, often as a form of institutional or spatial intervention. He is a founding member of the Manifest.AR collective. His work has been shown at Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, Los Angeles; San Francisco MOMA; Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; FACT, Liverpool, UK; Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, Istanbul; Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles; the ICA, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; New Museum in New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington; FILE, Sao Paulo, BR; and Turbulance.org. The artist’s works have been reviewed in Christiane Paulʼs historical editions of “Digital Art,” Art in America, New York Times, Hyperallergic.org, WIRED, EL PAIS, Madrid, and Liberation, Paris. He teaches new media at Pace University, New York. Email: [email protected], www.willpap-projects.com.
Zachary Brady is an artist, user experience designer, and web developer from Brooklyn, NY. He is a Partner and Director of Technology at Suits & Sandals, LLC where he oversees the production of digital products including websites and apps. His art practice plays off of his technological background and focuses on the creation of interactive pieces. His goal is to make the viewer an inseparable aspect of each piece. Among the places he has shown include the Whitney Museum in New York City, Virtual Switzerland at Basel Munsterplats, and the FACT Museum in Liverpool, England.