The show explores the potential of augmented reality in enhancing public spaces, adding a new layer of cultural engagement and visual stimulation without any physical installation taking place.
With the world in chaos over Covid-19 infection rates, countries oscillate between freedom and quarantine, leaving the fate of many exhibitions and venues uncertain. These virtual exhibitions allow artists the world over to participate without needing to step on a plane. Digital works could provide a vital connection for cultural hotspots like the South Bank, at a time when the future of London’s art world feels hazy.
In the show, digital artist Cao Fei has continued her exploration of New Media techniques, a project that began over ten years ago on the video-game platform Second Life. Reflecting urban life in contemporary china, Fei constructed an entire fictional locale, RMB city (2007), where users could interact, build and exchange currency for goods. For Unreal City, Fei continues to invite viewers into immersive realities, producing an altered iteration of her project The Eternal Wave, all from the safe distance of her studio in Beijing. The virtual reality installation was exhibited at the artists sold-out show Blueprints, hosted by the Serpentine Gallery earlier in 2020. In her newest rendition of Eternal Wave, Fei recreates the mundane domesticity of her kitchen, connecting her lived environment to the virtual realm. Through the exhibition app, viewers participate in and alter the space by tapping the digitally drawn furniture.