“Seeing The Invisible” At Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario

Photos: Tiffany Shum

This past week we headed to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario for “Seeing The Invisible“. The most ambitious and expansive exhibition of contemporary artworks ever created using augmented reality (AR) technology.

The exhibit made its Canadian premiere at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) this fall, and is set at beautiful Hendrie Park, Thursdays through Sundays from September 23 to November 6.

Seeing the Invisible opened simultaneously across the globe at gardens in Canada (RBG), Australia, England, Israel, Scotland, South Africa, and the United States and features 13 works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE RA, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin — including several artists’ first work in AR. 

Setting these digital experiences inside botanical gardens of different countries, without disturbing the preservations, and keeping the carbon footprint to the minimum, the exhibition addresses themes pertaining to nature, environment, and sustainability and explores the boundaries and connections between art, technology, and nature. In doing so, it invites viewers to contemplate contemporary ideas relating to site and non-site, physical and digital realms.

At RBG, visitors will connect to Seeing the Invisible through their smartphone or tablet by downloading an app designed for an engaging exhibition experience. Using the app interface, visitors will encounter 13 unique and interactive artworks dotting the Hendrie Park landscape. Visitors can snap photos engaging with larger than life, moving and interactive artwork that they can virtually walk through, while plugging into an audio component that amplifies the artistic experience. The AR platform forges new links between the RBG landscape and global artists, harnessing the power of art to connect people to the natural world. 

Morphecore Prototype AR, 2021 – Daito Manabe

Featured Artists

Seeing the Invisible features AR works by the following artists:

  • Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China; lives and works in multiple locations, including Beijing, China; Berlin, Germany; Cambridge, UK; and Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey; lives and works in Los Angeles, USA)
  • El Anatsui (b. 1944, Anyako, Ghana; lives and works in Nigeria)
  • Ori Gersht (b. 1967, Tel Aviv, Israel; lives and works in London, UK)
  • Mohammed Kazem (b. 1969, Dubai, UAE; lives and works in Dubai, UAE)
  • Sigalit Landau (b. 1969, Jerusalem, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel) 
  • Daito Manabe (b. 1976, Tokyo, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo, Japan)
  • Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991, New York City, USA; lives and works in New York City, USA)
  • Mel O’Callaghan (b. 1975, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Paris, France)
  • Pamela Rosenkranz (b. 1979, Switzerland; lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984; lives and works in New York City, USA)
  • Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. 1987, Denmark; lives and works in Berlin, Germany)

The Seeing the Invisible experience will be complemented by tours and educational programming as well as RBG’s very own Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection, a stunning collection of 15 inspiring works of art from around the world that have been growing in numbers at Hendrie Park since 2010. Two brand-new sculptures, Overture and Reverie, are joined the collection this September.

For more information, or to buy tickets visit: https://www.rbg.ca/things-to-do/art-in-the-gardens/seeing-the-invisible

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