Augmented Reality and Censorship

Although it seems the Augmented Reality is in general use in digital innovations, different industries (e.g.: fashion, furniture) and medical care, the artists have already been creating AR art for years. Today, AR is not only used in artistic creations but to evade and resist the censorship in the arts.

Censorship of art or artists happens for many reasons all around the world. Here I want to introduce two excellent pieces of work that fight against the censorship of arts. In fact, the works themselves are the unique art.

Shades of Absence

Shades of Absence” is a constellation of absence images of contemporary artists who have been censored by the governments and faced threats of violence and even arrest or whose works are censored in public sphere.

These artworks are based on Augmented Reality. They are placed on the public through GPS coordinates. The audiences can use their smartphones to view these artworks. Besides the list of censored artists, some limited artists could also be seen with erased silhouettes.

Artworks In the Series

“Shades of Absence: Public Voids”

In this part, it displaces the artists whose works are not allowed to display in public sphere. If wanting to know more information about the artists, just touch the screen of your smartphone, and there is a link bringing you to the website.

a

Shades of Absence: Public Voids,” Piazza San Marco, Venice. Tamiko Thiel, Augmented reality intervention into the Venice Biennale, 2011. Use with permission

b

Shades of Absence: Public Voids,” Brooklyn Bridge, NY. Tamiko Thiel, Augmented reality installation, DUMBO Arts Festival, 2011. Use with permission

“Shades of Absence: Outside Inside”

In this part, it addresses the artists who have faced violence or arrest whether they have been censored or not.

c

Shades of Absence: Outside Inside,” Venice Giardini. Tamiko Thiel, Augmented reality intervention into the Venice Biennale, 2011. Use with permission

d

Shades of Absence: Outside Inside,” Manhattan Bridge, NY. Tamiko Thiel, Augmented reality installation, DUMBO Arts Festival, 2011. Use with permission

About the Artist

Tamiko Thiel, a media artist, creates this art project. She has got degrees in engineering from Stanford and MIT and a fine arts degree. She has devoted herself in combining the technologies with arts.

Tiananmen SquARed

This public art project is called Tiananmen SquARed. From the name we can quickly to notice that it is a combination of the issue of the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989 in China and Augmented Reality. It uses AR to imitate the image of The Goddess of Democracy and Tank Man to dedicate the human rights and the contributions by the democratic soldiers.

The Goddess of Democracy

The Goddess of Democracy, a 10-meter-tall statue was created in Tiananmen Square during the 1989’s student uprising. The statue just existed in only four days and was destroyed by the soldiers who suppressed the movement. This art project uses AR to restore the statue and places the ‘statue’ back in the square.

1

Screenshot visualizations of ‘The Goddess of Democracy’, 2011–present. Augmented Reality artwork. Pic: 4Gentlemen. Labeled for noncommercial reuse.

 Tank Man

Tank Man is to memory the man who stood in front of the tanks that went into the Tiananmen Square to suppress the movement on June 5, 1989. The soldiers who controlled the leading tank wanted to keep away from the man. However, the man was changing his position with the tank, trying to prevent the military or demonstrate against the suppression.

2

Screenshot visualizations of ‘Tank Man’, 2011–present. Augmented Reality artwork. Pic: 4Gentlemen. Labeled for noncommercial reuse.

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