GOOD

These Augmented Reality Sculptures Make Any Environment An Art Installation

In AR, her works have soared above Malawi, dangled London, and floated down the Los Angeles River.

[/vimeo]

Angeles-based artist Nancy Baker Cahill recently released 4th Wall, an iOS app that allows audiences across the globe to view her drawings in their own environments through the wonders of augmented reality. With AR, they can become a part of many different environments, at least temporarily. Over the last few weeks, her work has turned up in some surprising places, a few of which have been documented on the app's Instagram feed. They've flown through the sky above Malawi, dangled over a London street, and floated down the Los Angeles River. One even traveled the baggage carousel at Los Angeles International Airport. With an app, Cahill's drawings can go anywhere.

"It really is a new iteration of public art," says Cahill by phone. To create this project, the artist herself stepped inside AR's cousin, virtual reality.

Even when Cahill worked primarily in two dimensions, with graphite on paper, there was a sense that she aimed to engulf viewers in her drawings. Her work is abstract and often takes on grand shapes resembling storms and swarms. With 2D drawing, though, Cahill hit a creative block. She drew larger forms, but ultimately, was hindered by the size of her studio. She worked on a series of called "Surds," where she punctured holes and added lucite to drawings that resemble twisted limbs and knotted muscles. "It was playing with space and perception, but it wasn't going far enough," she says.

Then a colleague suggested that Cahill try virtual reality.


[/vimeo]

In recent years, the allure of virtual reality has captivated a broad swath of artists and developers. From college students to major film directors, like Jon Favreau and Alejandro Iñárritu, VR has become a tool to take viewers deeper into worlds that they might otherwise only see through screens. Cahill tried a variety of VR experiences and was smitten. "I just came out of it thinking, this is the perfect next step," she says. "This is exactly where the work needs to go." So, she stepped into VR as an artist with Tilt Brush, an app that enables people to draw and paint inside a headset.

"It's a somewhat ecstatic experience to draw in a three dimensional space," says Cahill. Yet, there were limitations, particularly as Cahill strived to keep the cohesiveness between her 3D drawings and her 2D ones. She hooked up with Drive Studios to develop brush strokes that could be used in the 3D work.

"I really wanted to create a fine art experience for the viewer," says Cahill. "I wanted you to engage with these drawings the same way that you would in a museum, a gallery, or anywhere where you have access to a work of art, where you're really led by your own curiosity."

Rian Brown Orso superimposes Cahill's artwork over Lake Erie with the 4th Wall app. Photo courtesy of Nancy Baker Cahill.


She continues, "You decide how close or far away you want to be and, in this case, you can stand in the middle of it. You can literally stand in the middle of the drawing or you can walk through it. you can teleport through it. We developed a slow drift teleport as well, so you don't have to fly through the drawing. You can drift through the drawing."

Plus, Cahill found a conceptual connection between virtual reality and her drawings on paper. "The truth is, I had gone into this whole endeavor thinking that I was going to make one thing and learned, very quickly that it was the void, the intimate void in VR that is mirrored in paper. When you look at a piece of paper, it too represents a kind of void," she says. "All of my drawings represent a kind of moment of frozen tension in a void. So, it was this very natural translation to go into that same void and create forms and a kind of imagery that held that same tension, but allowed you to engage with it on a whole new level."

[/vimeo]

While Cahill draws in VR, she chose to release the finished pieces, four of which exist so far, in AR to reach the widest audience. While VR has gained popularity in recent years, a full immersive set-up for the home is still high-priced technology. There are spaces like IMAX VR popping up globally and some arts institutions have experimented with the technology, but that's not commonplace yet.

Taking VR-made art into an AR app is a complicated process that involves both the artist and her collaborators. Cahill says uses the word "build" to describe that process now, likening it to architecture and sculpture.

Nancy Baker Cahill at work in her studio. Photo by Michele Asselin.


She says that since starting this project, even the way she draws on paper has change. "More than affecting how I draw, it's changing how I perceive space on paper," she says. "There's a different kind of velocity now to the drawings, a different kind of motion and energy that wasn't there before. It's neither good nor bad, I'm not placing a value judgment on it, it's just interesting to see that happen."

Cahill recalls returning home after trying VR for the first time and being disappointed with the flatness of images on a television set. "It was that persuasive, that profound," she says. That realization prompted her to deeply consider how she uses both VR and AR. "I feel compelled to use it in interesting and innovative, but, most importantly, responsible ways," she says. "I really want to carve out new territories that are positive."

Articles
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet