Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Understanding Broadway Augmented

Image courtesy of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission
Beginning in the spring of 2014 Broadway street in Sacramento will undergo a radical transformation imperceptible to the naked eye. Utilizing augmented reality technology the Broadway corridor will feature ten site specific virtual public artworks created by local, regional and national artists. Titled Broadway Augmented, the project combines computer generated environments seamlessly merged with the real world. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the project proposes to lay the groundwork for permanent works of public art for this diverse neighborhood.

Learn more about Broadway Augmented by joining us at 7pm on Thursday, November 14th at CCAS. The evening will begin with introductions by Shelly Willis, followed by a discussion moderated by Rachel Clarke, featuring participating artists Jose Carlos Casado (NY), Sabrina Ratte (Montreal), and Michael Rees (NJ).  For those unable to attend be sure to visit the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission’s website, or read their press release below, for more details.

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission 
Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission’s (SMAC) Art in Public Places Program has received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to produce “Broadway Augmented,” an innovative 15 month public art project that employs cutting edge technology to create ten virtual public artworks in one of Sacramento’s most eclectic transitional neighborhoods. SMAC leads this partnership with the Urban Land Institute (ULI), California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), the Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento (CCAS), and the Greater Broadway Partnership (GBP) – the Business Association for the neighborhood in which the project will take place. The project will inform the Broadway Vision Plan, (a preliminary master plan for this major Sacramento neighborhood), by laying the groundwork for the funding and commissioning of a permanent work of public art, and by giving SMAC, City Planners, and area designers a unique opportunity to experiment with and develop this very new technology as an innovative tool to assist in the planning and development of future projects in the City.

Ten artists will be chosen by a curatorial team to create a design for a site-specific public artwork along the Broadway corridor. These designs will then be translated by a technician working closely with the artists into three dimensional computer-generated models viewed in the real-world environment using a smart phone or iPad. It works like this: the public downloads and launches an Augmented Reality (AR) application (app) on their smart phone. The custom app will be available for download for Android and Apple devices. Once this is completed, they follow a map within the app that indicates where the virtual artworks are located. They aim their device’s camera at a particular location (shown on the map) to view the artwork for that location in real-time. For example, a plain brick storefront may be transformed by an intricate mural. Audiences will then have the opportunity to react to the works through a simple survey. The results of the survey will ultimately inform both the Broadway Vision Plan and the commissioning of a permanent work of public art along the corridor. 
This is truly a groundbreaking project for SMAC. In a dynamic public/private partnership, SMAC will produce a temporary public art project, while introducing new technology that will help inform an important urban planning and design process, and create a citywide discussion about public art and its ability to engage a neighborhood in planning their community.

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