From 1994 to 2000 artist Jeff Koons created five versions of a Balloon Dog sculpture in Blue, Magenta, Yellow, Orange and Red colours. This is an artwork made of mirror-polished stainless steel with a transparent colour coating.
Many years later, in an Era where companies seem to want any sci-fi elements to become real, Snapchat created an augmented reality version of this Ballon Dog and installed it in New York’s Central Park. This is a geo-tagged 3D sculpture so that smartphone users can visualise it as they go in specific places the company choose, such as Sydney’s Opera House, London’s Hyde Park or the above mentioned Central Park.
But even though it’s a virtual creation, this didn’t stop people to vandalise it in an ‘overnight attack’. That’s what happened recently. Artist Sebastian Errazuriz and CrossLab studio, managed to install their own graffiti-covered version of the artwork, using the same coordinates. In this way users could see the balloon dog ‘vandalised’ in the same location.
This was a protest against the danger of an “AR corporate invasion”. An attempt to avoid companies to ‘invade’ people’s life and public spaces with tons of unwanted advertisement and messages.
“It’s important to have this dialogue before our public AR virtual space is entirely dominated by brands“, Errazuriz said. “I believe that it is therefore vital to open up a dialogue and start questioning now how much of our virtual public space we are willing to give to companies“, he added.
On his website the artist explained why he did it: “Swift responses to create awareness and invite discussion are imperative to such milestone initiatives. If Snapchat X Jeff Koons are the first to create a geo-tagged augmented reality artwork, we will be the first to vandalize it as a way to question its legitimacy.”
Therefore, the aim of the artist is to catch public attention with the hope of making this new technology fairly and ethically used, maintaining the respect of the others and their space (Ed.).
Do you like this new idea? Would you give up your whole life to ‘feed the greed of companies and corporations’? Do you think this can destroy our freedom for good – at least the few remained (Ed.)?