New York, NY
MESH collaborated with artist John Mack for over a year to develop this 15,000sf exhibition, which explores the relationship between human consciousness, nature, and our media devices. Mack shot photographs in more than 50 US national parks plus the seven wonders of the natural world. He also captured these landscapes in the Pokemon Go app. The six sections of the exhibition contrast these images in various ways to invite us to contemplate our attention to our natural environment vs. the gamified alternatives.
The show is large and ambitious, but we wanted the architectural scheme to be minimal, so it could be installed and taken down quickly, and so we would not end up filling landfill with studs and wallboard, as at the end of most art fairs. We devised a bolted steel strut system to construct spaces and hang works and hung screen material with magnets. Once we changed from traditional photographs to light boxes, we realized we didn’t need wall panels at all and suspended these works in a simple frame.
The sequence of the sections is important: The first section resembles a “normal” art installation and a cheerful game, at street level, to welcome visitors in. Proceeding downstairs, sections two and three present parks where cellphone service was elusive, with suspended, bitmapped, B&W images. In all of these sections a custom-developed mobile app uses augmented reality (AR) to transform the light box images on the visitor’s screen. Also in these sections, the visitor is on her own, weaving through a labyrinth of images.
MESH collaborated with Mack on the interactive video sections. Section four, The Wonder, brings visitors together and encourages collective action. When everyone in the room settles down, motionless, the images turn to their natural color and the sound of native birds replaces the grind of the game soundtrack.
Section five, The Introspection, separates visitors into individual experiences. It encourages meditative contemplation as a video plays reflective poems by the artist.
Lastly, section six, The Restoration, finally shows us the full-color landscapes in large, light box glory, in the theater we designed for the full month of thought-provoking programming.