Snapchat's new AR sculpture was launched with great fanfare in New York's Central Park on Tuesday. Visitors gathered to see the giant Balloon Dog sculpture appear in their cameras, as if it were actually there. The virtual art installation constituted the first of a series of digital, 3D, geo-tagged sculptures that will populate the world.
On site was also present artists at CrossLab, who observed the corporate initiative. 24 hours later they completed an identical 3D AR Balloon Dog and geo-tagged it to the exact coordinates for visitors to see. The only difference was that the new sculpture now appeared vandalized with graffiti, as if the result of an overnight protest. A symbolic stance against an imminent AR corporate invasion.
CrossLab explains that “it is vital to start questioning how much of our virtual public space we are willing to give to companies. Right now such sculptures exist in a realm dominated by social media corporations, offering us ‘free’ services that we voluntarily join. Nevertheless, with time, the boundaries between reality and virtual reality fade. The virtual world, where the majority of our social interactions take place, becomes our reality. Once we begin experiencing the world predominantly through AR, our public space will be dominated by corporate content designed to subconsciously manipulate and control us”
“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”.
The vandalized Balloon Dog was submitted to Snapchat with no response.