Newly commissioned project from St. Louis artist brings Augmented Reality to Laumeier Sculpture Park

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Newly commissioned project from St. Louis artist brings Augmented Reality to Laumeier Sculpture Park
Van McElwee, Time Fork, 2020. Commissioned by Laumeier Sculpture Park. Digital sketch for AR application. Courtesy of the artist, St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS, MO.- Laumeier Sculpture Park presents the newly commissioned project Van McElwee: Time Fork. McElwee, a local St. Louis multi-media artist, creates an Augmented Reality environment offering visitors an alternative Laumeier experience. Created from a topographical drone mapping of Laumeier, imagined structures will be placed virtually within the physical landscape at Laumeier and accessed through a free mobile app. McElwee’s interactive application will allow visitors to use a phone or tablet to navigate the physical space of the Park while simultaneously exploring a virtual world.

The project, organized as a walking tour of the Park viewed through the lens of technology, entertains a playful fiction: roughly a thousand years ago, time branched to create a parallel world. In McElwee’s installation, he uses Augmented Reality to reveal features of a settlement that exists in that parallel or even future world, overlapping what we know as Laumeier Sculpture Park. McElwee explains: “We see structures that could be under construction or in ruins; they could have a ritual, municipal or even an industrial function. Using phones or tablets as windows, viewers can fully explore these mysteries, inside and out, a tool that is at least conceptually, archeological and anthropological.”

Laumeier’s Curator Dana Turkovic states: “Laumeier is very excited to present this groundbreaking interactive project that allows visitors to take a solo journey using their own devices to explore a parallel world. Built to excite curiosity and wonder, McElwee’s project takes the idea of touring the Park to another conceptual level. Time Fork is an online gateway to discovery, creating an experience that is both virtual and real.”

Time Fork is one component of Laumeier’s thematic exploration of Art & Global Change that runs through 2021. Culminating in a group exhibition in Spring 2021 titled The Future is Present: Art and Global Change, which Time Fork will be a part of, the theme seeks to examine the global impacts of climatic and environment changes through the lens of contemporary art. Therefore, Laumeier hopes visitors will see McElwee’s project as a portal for both contemplating our current conditions and pondering our choices related to the environment, our communities and time itself.

Van McElwee received his MFA in Multimedia in 1978 from Washington University School of Art and his BFA in Printmaking in 1973 from the Memphis College of Art. Selected installations and one-person shows include: Anthology Film Archives, New York; ARTpool in Budapest; The Shanghai Duolun Museum of Art, China; Galerie Trabant, Austria; Rencontres Video Art Plastique in France; Berkeley Museum of Art Pacific Film Archive, California; The Marsh Gallery at the University of Richmond, Virginia; Medienwerkstatt in Vienna and Ohio University Gallery of Art. Selected group shows and festivals include: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Paula Cooper Gallery New York; The Long Beach Museum of Art; Ars Electronica, ZKM, Siggraph; Camden Arts Centre, London; Wexner Center for the Arts; Milwaukee Art Museum; Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo; ASIFA Austria, Museum Quartier, Vienna; Worldwide Video Festival at the Stedelijk Museum; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; Art in General, New York; Digital Dance Festival, Seoul, South Korea and Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, France. His grants and awards include: A John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; St. Louis Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellowship; The American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award and the National Endowment for the Arts Independent Production Fund. McElwee’s work is represented by Bruno David Gallery, St. Louis, The Kitchen in New York, Inter Media Art Institute in Germany and Galerie Trabant, Austria. He is Professor of Electronic and Photographic Media at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.

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