Artist Nina Chanel Abney has released her very first augmented reality work, stepping away from her usual medium of 2D collage-like works, while continuing to use visual media to combine “representation and abstraction”.
Titled Imaginary Friend, the AR work’s aim is “for individuals to realise their personal power to shift a situation,” explains Acute Art who have commissioned the piece and are releasing it via its AR app. The piece is a supportive artwork during these difficult times, released to mark the 57th anniversary of the march for “Jobs and Freedom” in Washington, where Dr.Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Its release also marks the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” march, taking place on the National Mall in Washington today (28 August).
The artwork itself tells the story of “a modern-day sage” who attempts to give a blessing to a friend who refuses it, “as he doesn’t believe anything good will happen to him,” explains a release by Acute Art. “The character leaves us with a phrase ‘sometimes we believe nothing good can ever happen to us, so it don’t.’”
Discussing the work and its meaning, Nina adds: “Inspired by the mythological characters and disincarnate guides whom people turn to in times of trouble, and in collaboration with artists who understand the value of the humour in processing grief, trauma, and distress, I created Imaginary Friend to offer participants an already-ready companion to mitigate the uncertainty and precocity of today. Imaginary Friend asks us to keep at the heart, the value of collective life and public interaction at a moment that threatens to push us further toward alienated being.”
The artist’s AR sculptures are available for free as part of a global public exhibition at various galleries around the world. In the US visitors can see the work on Chicago Pier, at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Venice Beach in LA, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. In Europe, the work can be viewed at both the Serpentine Galleries and Trafalgar Square in London, the Louvre and Eiffel Tower in Paris, and in Japan too at the Mori Art Museum and Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. There is also an additional version of Imaginary Friend on the Acute Art app to use at home.
This is the seventh release by Acute Art’s AR app in 2020, with other works by a range of artists including Christo, Olafur Eliason and Koo Jeong A.
Nina Chanel Abney, Imaginary Friend, 2020, augmented reality. Courtesy: Nina Chanel Abney and Acute Art.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.