Nancy Baker Cahill Studio
Augmented reality artwork
On display November 5 – December 31, 2021, via Hoverlay app
Los Angeles, California
Mirage, a bespoke augmented reality artwork created specifically for Canal Convergence, provides a poetic narrative of extreme climate transformation in the hopes of inspiring informed action in viewers. The artwork was initially drawn in virtual reality, and then animated and anchored above the Arizona Canal. The drawing first appears as a swirling column of abstracted water droplets that spin and circle upward to meet an iridescent abstracted hourglass fading into view. The hourglass hovers above the canal like a mirage, appearing only briefly. As it dissolves, the water droplets transform into abstracted sand granules, streaming down toward the canal and dissipating into thin air. The cycle then repeats. The animation underscores the fragility and ephemerality of the desert ecosystem and the acute necessity to conserve water.
AR is evanescent by nature and causes little environmental harm, making it an ideal technology and artistic medium for this project. As viewers record their experiences of the artwork through the Hoverlay app, no two experiences will be the same, just as no two environmental conditions are the same. Technology allows viewers to engage on their own terms and to write their own experiences into the larger story of Mirage by recording and sharing their interactions and observations of the work.
Nancy Baker Cahill is a new media artist who examines power, selfhood, and embodied consciousness through drawing and shared immersive space. She is the founder and artistic director of 4th Wall, a free augmented reality art platform exploring resistance and inclusive creative expression. Her 2020 AR public art project Liberty Bell was featured in The New York Times, frieze magazine, Artnet News, Smithsonian magazine, and The Washington Post, among others. Baker Cahill was also included in ARTnews’ list of 2021 Deciders.
Her 2018 TED talk, “Augmented Reality (AR) as an Artist’s Tool for Equity and Access,” launched her international public speaking practice. Speaking highlights include keynotes at 2019 Games for Change and 2020 A.W.E. (Augmented World Expo) and a recent panel at the Hirshhorn Museum. Baker Cahill is an artist scholar at the Berggruen Institute’s Transformations of the Human Fellowship, an artist resident at Oxy Arts’ Encoding Futures Residency, and a member of the Guild of Future Architects. In 2021, she was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal of Honor. Her clean NFT (nonfungible token) art collaboration Contact Killers was recently exhibited in the historic Proof of Art exhibition at the Francisco Carolinum Museum in Linz, Austria.