UK gardens join global exhibition of AR artworks

The Eden Project and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are among 12 venues across four continents to stage Seeing the Invisible, featuring AR artworks by the likes of Ai Weiwei and Pamela Rosenkranz

Two gardens in the UK are participating in a uniquely ambitious global exhibition of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology.

The Eden Project in Cornwall and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are among 12 gardens across four continents to stage Seeing the Invisible, showcasing works by 13 international artists including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin.

Instigated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, and co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring, the exhibition uses a downloadable app to place the same commissioned artworks in contrasting locations around the world.

For example, the piece that appears among a lush forest of giant redwoods in Edinburgh might be set within a group of wavy-armed Saguaro cacti in Arizona.

“As a cultural destination set within a regenerated, natural landscape, the idea of immersing digital installations within that environment is a thrill for our visitors and, indeed, us as hosts,” said David Harland, interim chief executive of the Eden Project.

“To experience extraordinary digital works that enable us to view the natural world around them though a new lens will reach hearts and minds, as well as informing and educating simultaneously.”

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“It is a great privilege to host artworks by world-renowned artists in collaboration with a global network of partner gardens, allowing us all to demonstrate the power of working together for the benefit of all living things,” he added.

Designed to highlight the power of art to connect people around the world, as well as explore the interplay of physical landscapes with the digital world, Seeing the Invisible features artworks addressing themes related to nature, environment and sustainability.

“This exhibition allows artists who have not previously worked in AR to expand on ideas that are central to their practice in entirely new ways,” said Maor.

“Coming out of the pandemic, when outdoor experiences and nature have taken on a new meaning and gravity in our lives, this exhibition represents a fresh way for people to engage with art and nature simultaneously,” added Haring.

Seeing the Invisible is open now and runs until August 2022. Click here for further information.

From the archive: Back in 2015, we reported on Coventry University and the Royal Horticultural Society exploring the health effects of gardening in a motion capture lab 


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