Seeing the Invisible

Unprecedented Augmented Reality Exhibition to Premiere at Royal Botanical Gardens in September 2021 as One of 12 Participating Gardens Across Six Countries
Featuring AR Works by Artists Including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin
Opening Simultaneously in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in September 2021 as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

The first exhibition of its kind to be developed as a collaboration among botanical gardens around the world, Seeing the Invisible was initiated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and is co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring. As part of Seeing the Invisible, the Eden Project is also developing accompanying educational programming for children, educators, and families at RBG, every other partner institution, and online for viewers around the world.

Seeing the Invisible will simultaneously premiere at:

• Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver, Colorado, USA)
• Eden Project (Cornwall, England)
• Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (Jerusalem, Israel)
• Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (Cape Town, South Africa)
• Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Sarasota, Florida, USA)
• Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)
• Royal Botanical Gardens (Ontario, Canada)
• Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland)
• Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne Gardens (Cranbourne, Australia)
• Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens (Melbourne, Australia)
• San Diego Botanic Garden (San Diego, California, USA)
• Tucson Botanical Gardens (Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Seeing the Invisible will place the same exhibition of commissioned artworks in analogous sites in 12 outdoor garden settings located in different biomes all around the world, creating parallels and contrasts between them. For example, the same work might be set within a group of tall Saguaro cacti in Tucson and among a lush forest of giant redwoods in Edinburgh. The AR nature of the exhibition allows for the creation of expansive, immersive works that engage with existing features of the natural landscape beyond the limitations of what is possible with physical artworks. Many of the works created for the exhibition will address related themes around nature, environment, sustainability, and explore the interplay of the physical world with the digital one.

Seeing the Invisible will feature AR works by the following artists:

• Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China; lives and works in Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Germany)
• 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)
• Isaac Julien CBE (b.1960, London, UK; 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)

“We are thrilled to premiere this event that allows us to present art in a new medium to our gardens,” said Royal Botanical Gardens CEO, Nancy Rowland. “For centuries, public gardens have provided spaces that showcase and complement the creativity of traditional art. With Seeing the invisible we are able to immerse the art into our natural setting in a new and different way.”

“This exhibition allows artists who have not previously worked in AR to expand on ideas that are central to their practice in entirely new ways,” said Seeing the Invisible Co-Curator Hadas Maor. “In doing so, the exhibition engages a wide range of visitors with contemporary artworks, including a number that address critical issues around the environment, through this exciting new medium.”

“Coming out of the pandemic when outdoor experiences and nature have taken on a new meaning and gravity in our lives, this exhibition represents a fresh way for people to engage with art and nature simultaneously,” added Seeing the Invisible Co-Curator Tal Michael Haring. “The interplay of these augmented reality works in vibrant natural settings breaks down the binary between what is often considered ‘natural’ versus ‘digital’, and in this way provides an exhibition experience that is much more connected to the way we live today.”

Seeing the Invisible will be accessible via smartphone and tablet through the Seeing the Invisible app, which will be available for iPhone and Android in the App Store and Google Play. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

This project has been made possible in partnership with The Jerusalem Foundation. Additional support for Royal Botanical Gardens presentation of the exhibition has been provided by Incite Foundation for the Arts. Seeing the Invisible is co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring, and organized by Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

Seeing the Invisible will be complemented by Royal Botanical Gardens’ Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection which features several unique artwork pieces from around the world. Further information regarding dates, times and tickets for Seeing the Invisible will be announced in the coming weeks. For additional information about the exhibition at Royal Botanical Gardens, please visit: [ OR]

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