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Breathtaking augmented reality art installation on view in Venice
The AR installation is location specific; installed at thirteen different viewing spots throughout Venice.

VENICE.- Spark+ Art announces “Ascension,” a breathtaking augmented reality art installation by Richard Humann premieres during the 2017 Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, in conjunction with the European Cultural Centre and the GAA Foundation.

Richard Humann creates an alternate universe within our own universe in his location-based augmented reality (AR) multimedia installation, “Ascension.” The work consists of twelve imaginary constellations suspended in the sky over the magical city of Venice, and can be viewed using an augmented reality app, Membit, on a smart phone or tablet.

The constellations that we recognize today are based on a 2,000-year-old mythology derived from the ancient Greeks. Their heroes, villains, mortals, and gods ascended into the sky for all eternity. Inspired by the seminal work of comparative mythology, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell, Humann superimposes a new constellation system over our existing one. He created a new mythology and the new folklore, by taking popular figures of the 20th Century and then developed a visually metaphoric and encapsulated story arc that accompanies them. The narrative begins with the two-headed dogs of war, “The Great Wars,” that represent the two wars, WWI and WWII of the first half of the 20th Century that shaped so much of what was to come. The world at war then gives way to the era of the “Shining Suburb on the Hill,” which is the America of post 1945. We see the rise of “The Blue Moon King,” represented in the form of a black and white bear that is Elvis Presley. Then comes “The Gentle Beast” which is a whale-car hybrid spouting oil that opened up the vastness of America while making it smaller and more accessible to all at the same time. The bunny rabbit, dressed in royal attire, is “The Tragic Queen” who is actually Marilyn Monroe. “The White Knight” stands proudly with his sword by his side, and the nuclear briefcase by his feet. He is John F. Kennedy and is a man of peace who is prepared for battle, but it is during peacetime that he meets his end too soon.

“The Four-Headed Monster” quickly rises from the vacuum left behind by the loss of The White Knight. The monster is an eight-legged creature with four heads that takes over the entire world with its message of love. It is The Beatles, portrayed as a revolver headed octopus, holding flowers. “The Butterfly Bee” is both delicate and deadly. It is graceful and powerful. It is Muhammed Ali. Next is “The Brave Explorer” who was running out of land to explore on this planet and launched himself into space to reach out to the stars, and eventually took giant steps onto the moon. It is all the astronauts, and the space program that allowed mankind to leave this world for the first time and walk among the gods. “The Princess Adored,” or Princess Diana, captured the heart of the world, and is represented by a beautiful rose, on a thorn-less stem with a ladybug at its heart. Then there is “The Silicon Prophet” calmly sitting in the lotus position, with an apple body, and young tree sprouting from its stem. It is Steve Jobs patiently growing an orchard that will bear fruit to millions. And finally there is “The Silver Tower” that was a tower of silver coins, knocked down by a hawk-headed dove. It is The Twin Towers that brings the constellations of “Ascension” into the 21st Century, either full circle to that of the Third Great War, or to a time of peace and prosperity.

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