The emerging London-based art & design studio ABOVE & BELOW shows in their upcoming exhibition TERRAIN what the future might look like between our digital and physical space. The studio believes in the rise of a new terrain between our digital and physical environment, showing this through an Augmented Reality sculpture, a CGI film and interactive interventions. The exhibition pieces act as stimulus to discuss the future of humans, machines and the planet’s landscape.
Framed by a year long commission by art and tech institution Collusion in Cambridge, previous research at the Royal College of Art and presentations such as at WIRED Creative Hack award 2017, the studio continuous with their speculative art works questioning emerging technologies’ impact on our changing environment. Will human kind design a new society for our Augmented Reality sphere? Can high quality computer generated images replace missing bits between nature and technology? What role does materiality play in the in-between space?
“We see an opportunity of shaping new territorial spaces, natural and technological materials and social interactions in the emerging Augmented Reality sphere. But we also realise a gap in how augmented reality is used at the moment. Uses can be to speed-up production and consumption (eg. Ikea app) – nevertheless, we believe a new nature grows over an old. What we are interest in and what we want to question with TERRAIN, is there a sustainable system between the two in order to use both resources well?” Studio ABOVE & BELOW’s founders Jelonek and Sugden express.
Finding A New Terrain is an Augmented Reality sculpture consisting of three digital experiences made of stone, wood, print, water and light. The visitor is experiencing real material’s Augmentation through a Smartphone. Inspired by the endangered black Ebony tree, the wood is tearing to particles, due to its deforestation; on the other side the exhibited stone transforms into pieces but merges into its origin form, due to its sustainable nature.
In the middle of the room a large screen installation shows Terrain, a new shortfilm by ABOVE & BELOW which is completely shot on an iPhone – taking this possibility as a starting point. The shortfilm shows how hybrids of technological and natural wood, stone and light could exist in the new terrain between the digital and physical world.
“Technology becomes smarter and you carry powerful computers 24/7 with you around. We strongly believe that smartphones will more and more deal as portals to interact in our physical environment.”
Surrounded by an augmenting spinning screen in the exhibition space and other interactive interventions, TERRAIN challenges how people currently perceive our environment and speculates for new interactions in the new terrain. Rather than providing an answer to the user, this project combines different materials in form of sculpture and Augmented Reality, to discuss new ways of augmented communication and interaction between human, machine and our natural surrounding.