Yard Sale in the Sky, 2011, augmented reality/smartphone project
YARD SALE IN THE SKY - a project of Kristin LucasParticipating artists include: Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty, Eteam, Sue Havens, Joe McKay, Alisdair MacRae, Robert de Saint Phalle, Penelope Umbrico and possibly more... BRING YOUR SINGLES AND YOUR SMARTPHONE T OTHE HIGH LINE TO BROWSE AND PURCHASE 3D VIRTUAL OBJECTS AT A COMMUNITY YARD SALE! LUCAS WILL BE PRESENT TO MANAGE CASH SALES AND TO VIRTUALLY RELOCATE ITEMS TO BUYERS HOMES. Kristin Lucas's Yard Sale in the Sky is an art project that borrows from the structure and function of a community yard sale and is located on the High Line - a walking park that hovers above street level in Manhattan's Chelsea district. It takes place on May 14, from 2-4pm. While the elevated locale of this art event could be lyrically described as "in the sky," the sale items, which are virtual and positioned at specific geographic locations, also inform the project's name. The objects at this yard sale are not from the attic and basement, but are digitally rendered products of three-dimensional modeling programs, repurposed for Augmented Reality (AG). Using a free phone app called Layars, shoppers can see the virtual yard sale items on their iPhone (3GS and 4), iPads, or Android smartphones when passing through each object's programmed longitudinal/latitudinal location. Much like a physical yard sale, the visitor discovers each thing as he or she wanders through a physical space, but in this case the chotchkies, furniture, lawn mowers, etc. are virtual and only become visible through the use of our phones.
By placing her yard sale booty at specific sites on The High Line using geolocation and asking us to find and purchase them, Lucas finds a playful way to explore the ways we allow or don't allow digitally produced and distributed images, information, and objects into our everyday life. Lucas is mapping the physical experience of a bargain hunt onto the virtual, bringing those worlds together through commerce and relocation. This merging of the physical and virtual is one of the stated goals of Augmented Reality whose manifesto describes AG as a new form of art that "shows up in the Wrong Places. It Takes Stage without permission. It is Relational Conceptual Art that Self-Actualizes." Once a bargain hunter finds an object he or she wants - and, according to the artist, the objects are "priced to move!" – the customer purchases it from Lucas who personally oversees the event much like a neighborhood yard sale is monitored by the homeowner. In exchange for cold, hard cash, Lucas agrees to relocate the virtual object to a buyer's exact location. These objects, like invited phantasms, then take up residence with their new owner. Lucas has included friends and colleagues in the project, making it a multiple party yard sale. Part scavenger hunt, part collaborative enterprise, Lucas's investigation of traditional commercial exchange using virtual objects is an event that is at once familiar and foreign. It is grounded in a collective experience of the yard sale, but floats in and out of sight via a technological sensory organ, the phone.
This humorous and homespun approach to technology is a reminder that virtual projects and products, both creative and commercial, are geolocated into our physical spaces. Whether we access them or not, the locations of virtual phenomena are constantly intersecting with the trajectories of our physical world. Yard Sale in the Sky is a logical extension of Lucas's practice which sometimes incorporates retooled personas, democratically reconfigured media, and virtual elements, including her Refresh project where the artist refreshed herself via a court-approved rebooting of her identity; and her collaborative barcode cinema public art project where people could use a barcode reader app on their phones to view videos. Yard Sale in the Sky is Lucas's offsite contribution to the augmented reality group exhibition Gradually Melt the Sky at Devotion Gallery in Bushwick, which is was on view from April 8 - May 1 this spring. - Terri C. Smith home