Exhibition in the wild – Artivive in an underpass

In the language of science, this is a ‘proof of concept’ trial whereby I’m testing the viability of linking graffiti in the underpass of the local bypass to paintings with their own embedded video activate via the Artivive app. My first attempt dropped a sci fi horror from the underside of the bridge onto the pathway in front of the viewer and it quickly struck me that this might so alarm some people that they would never use that route again, or possibly walk under a bridge. This is a public space.

Removed – this is a public space so I am taking care to place material that will not frighten or offend.
This too has been removed due to its political message which would be provocative to many in the locality.
Proms. This has a ‘floating’ appearance and I’m reminded that there’s a 3D option to positioning material on the Artivive bridge.
Adur seal. I’ve found people relate to this image due to the seal’s importance to so many of us during lockdown.
Balcony. Based on Degas’ Woman on a balcony.
One of my early green screen and stop/motion efforts. The banana riffs on that one by Maurizio Cattelan in 2019.
Based on a subverted painting-by-numbers piece then animated and adjusted; this is how it should appear but, as yet, doesn’t.
Today, this worked. Very different lighting conditions – dull and overcast.

Yesterday, I posted all of the target images for these videos to our local Facebook ‘Spotted’ page and asked people to take a look and let me know what they thought. I can track hits via the Artivive bridge and, while uptake is predictably slow, the post generated more interest than I’d expected. One person asked for a video or a talk about how to do it and that feels like a good idea. It would clarify my thinking about the key points in the process and help me break them down into manageable sections. I’m always just one distraction away from forgetting how I did the last thing so it would be good to make a simple video reminder.

Learning points?

  • Be mindful of your viewers. By suggesting the app and telling them where to find the target images, you’re inviting them to see something you put there. In a public space, no one should be confronted with upsetting, frightening, or offensive material. Save that for a gallery where ‘edgy’ is the name of the game.
  • Choose the target carefully, aiming for good contrast, stability of environment, and uniqueness so that the app can latch on. As I’ve seen, the more fluid the target (lighting, vegetation, sky etc) the less reliable it is. Worth a try though, right?
  • Wifi or phone signal. Essential or nothing works. There’s a decent 4G in this small area.
  • Viewers. People will be using a variety of devices from the smallest screen to the tablet whoppers. You can’t legislate for this, only recommend. There’s a place for something delicate with subtle animation and meditative sound but it might not be in a brightly lit place with lots of ambient noise. Big drama and rumbling is probably better there but I’m still pondering that.
  • It’s all experimental and it might not work. Keep that in mind and relax.
  • You can attach the same video to any number of targets. Win!
  • If the target changes, you can take another photo and upload that to the Artivive bridge. Unless you took it in New York and you’re back home in Middle Wallop.
  • This is digital graffiti and, just as graffiti can be painted over by a new group with a spray can, someone might ‘paint over’ your video by using the same target for their own image. Don’t be precious.
  • Watch your stats. There are different Artivive accounts allowing increasing numbers of views per month. Start with the free one that gives you 100 views and shows them against the target(s) you’ve uploaded. They’re wiped at the end of each membership month so if you want a longer tracking history, you have to maintain your own record.
  • Maximum video size is 100Mb.

Conclusion. I think the concept is proven, with the provisos above. Next steps include refining the positioning of the video material. Artivive has a 3D option which I haven’t tried, and there are 3D building apps that can realise mobile forms somewhere beyond the ‘surface’ of the target. Video editing suites also allow for different opacities and all kinds of framing possibilities so that the square/rectangular appearance isn’t obligatory. There is both breadth and depth in these apps to explore.

I may add to this.

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