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Cao Fei, KAWS, Olafur Eliasson
Courtesy of Acute Art

Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, and more display AR works at London’s Unreal City

The exhibition by Acute Art is the capital’s biggest public festival of AR art

Art production company Acute Art has joined forces with Dazed Media to present London’s biggest public festival of AR art.

Taking place between December 8 and January 5, the exhibition features 36 sculptures arranged as a walking tour along the River Thames.

The digital sculptures, created to be experienced in AR using Apple’s ARKit, are arranged across 24 sites between Waterloo Bridge and Millennium Bridge on the Southbank. There’s works by Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, Alicja Kwade, Koo Jeong A, and Marco Brambilla, as well as never-seen-before pieces by Darren Bader, KAWS, Bjarne Melgaard, and Tomás Saraceno.

“The current pandemic has caused immeasurable suffering and disrupted so much of our everyday existence together. This is especially true for those of us who value and take part in cultural life,” said Eliasson.

“Because many of the important cultural sites that we take for granted are all closed – cinemas, theatres, concert houses, clubs, museums and stadiums – the only public spaces where we can move about safely together is outdoors, in the shared space of the city. It’s important to celebrate – even now – that public space belongs to all of us and that it is, in fact, very valuable,” he added.

“The boundary between the virtual and the real is becoming obscure, which exists in memory, history, and the interweaving of imagination and reality,” said Cao Fei. “With this in mind, we will have a broader understanding of reality, space, and temporality. As we come to accept that augmented reality is also part of reality, it will be the multiverse of our future existence and perception.”

To view the exhibition, guests must download the free Acute Art app on their device to download the map and view the artworks.

If you’re not able to see the AR come to life IRL, here’s some of what spectators have discovered on their trips through London: Bjarne Melgaard’s police officer turned half-man half-octopus, “Devil Man”, who doesn’t offer the friendliest of welcomes; Nina Chanel Abney’s “Imaginary Friend” floating calmly above the Thames; a terrifying, huge (and hairy) spider courtesy of Tomás Saraceno; and the surprising appearance of ice cubes, spinning tops, and flowering shrubs.

Unreal City will run from December 8 to January 5, 2021. Watch a teaser above, and see some of the individual pieces below.

The teaser was shot on iPhone by Kate Villevoye.

The sculptures were created to be experienced in AR using Apple’s ARKit.