Press Release

October 7, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 7, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Passey | BrianP@ScottsdaleArts.org | 480-874-4626

Augmented Reality App to Enhance Canal Convergence Experience

“Keeping Time” by Casey Farina is among the augmented reality features of this year’s Canal Convergence.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Art lovers will uncover new creative depths through augmented reality at Canal Convergence | Art + Water + Light when the annual temporary public art experience returns Nov. 6–15, 2020, in Old Town Scottsdale.

In addition to the eight previously announced, temporary public artworks, Canal Convergence will also feature two augmented reality artworks and numerous other augmented reality experiences.

“Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this year’s augmented reality experience at Canal Convergence,” said Natalie Marsh, director of Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “It’s like ‘Pokémon GO,’ but instead of capturing a rare creature, you’ll get to capture hidden stories about art.”

Just by using a camera on a smartphone or tablet, viewers will be able to interact with artworks, take a virtual tour of the Arizona Canal’s history and ecosystem, and trigger holograms of artists talking about their work. All the augmented reality experiences will be available on the CanalConvergence channel of the free Hoverlay app.

The augmented reality components will replace many of the traditional, in-person Canal Convergence activities like artist talks and tours in an effort to provide a safe way to enjoy the experience while social distancing. Some of the components can be viewed from the comfort and safety of the viewer’s own home while others are triggered by a geographic location or QR codes near the artworks in Old Town Scottsdale.

Among the components that can be viewed from any location are two augmented reality artworks: “Keeping Time” and “Magnified Mundane Magnificent.” “Keeping Time,” by Phoenix-based artist Casey Farina, is kinetic sculpture presented in augmented reality, where animated bell structures emit light and travel an orbital path. And “Magnified Mundane Magnificent,” by Phoenix-based artist Jen Urso, uses augmented reality to reveal a world of complexity via a series of drawings of organic matter.

“Bringing augmented reality artworks to Canal Convergence will allow visitors to experience public art safely,” said Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art. “All a viewer needs is a smart device with the app to access a visually augmented environment. In short, it is ‘no-touch’ artwork.”

Many of the physical Canal Convergence artworks will also have augmented reality features. For example, if a viewer is using the app while approaching “Together! Responding to COVID-19” by OGE Group, the viewer will be able to see messages written in response to the artwork. Other installations might feature holograms of the artists talking about their work.

Additionally, select artworks from the Scottsdale Public Art Permanent Collection throughout Old Town will have augmented reality components. These will feature holograms of the artists, Scottsdale Public Art staff, or others talking about the artworks and offering up interesting facts.

Beyond the artworks, a few augmented reality experiences are connected to the traditional location of Canal Convergence on and around the Arizona Canal at the Scottsdale Waterfront between Goldwater Boulevard and Scottsdale Road. Through a partnership with Phoenix College, viewers will be able to use the CanalConvergence channel for an augmented reality tour along the canal, featuring information about the creatures that live in below the surface of the water.

Canal Convergence is also working with the Cosanti Foundation to offer an augmented reality experience at “Soleri Bridge and Plaza,” the public artwork located on the canal near Scottsdale Road. When viewers walk through a virtual “portal” with the CanalConvergence channel active, they will be able to view 360-degree videos and other features, including tours of Cosanti and Arcosanti.

While augmented reality will replace the artist talks and tours, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also changed how Canal Convergence will deliver workshops. There will be no physical workshops at the canal this year, but there will be a variety available online via Zoom.

“We are excited to offer such high-quality workshops, even during this time of isolation,” said Laura Hales, curator of learning and innovation for Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation. “All of the workshops are virtual, which gives people the opportunity to meet professional artists and engage with others in the comfort of their own homes.”

Just like past years, workshop presenters include some of the artists behind the Canal Convergence artworks, like the members of Koros Design, who will provide a workshop from their studio in Budapest, Hungary. Workshop options include:

  • Family Project: Kaleidoscopes with Koros — Join members of Koros Design to create a unique kaleidoscope.
  • From Algorithms to Artwork by Casey Farina — This workshop will take “real world” instructions and translate them into computer code. Participants will leave this workshop with several code sketches that can be used as the foundation for future projects.
  • Collective Chorus: Neighborhood Sign Intervention by Kristin Bauer — This workshop will use language, sustainable materials, and the participants’ homes as places for making and as platforms for thoughtful reconnection with the community.
  • Art Can Get You Through by Mary Neubauer — In this two-part workshop series, participants will be inspired by artists to create something unique and powerful that expresses ideas you have about this unprecedented time.
  • Radial Reconnection by Kyllan Maney — Participants will create a circular design that sends a message about sustainability, transforming ideas about water, light, and ecology into a colorful mandala-like artwork.
  • Illuminated Watercolor Cards by the Walter Hive — Participants will create their own abstract watercolor paintings, using a variety of techniques, and then learn to illuminate them using paper electronics designs.
  • Silly Love Songs by AJ Odneal — Participants will join singer-songwriter AJ Odneal for an interactive songwriting activity that could result in a piece of music that uses their ideas.
  • Connect Creatively with Music by AJ Odneal — Participants will join Odneal for an interactive songwriting hour that promises to nurture their imagination.

Some of the workshops require supplies that must be ordered in advance, so sign up early to ensure there’s enough time to mail the supplies prior to the scheduled online event. Information about the workshops, augmented reality, and more can be found at CanalConvergence.com.