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Unprecedented Augmented Reality Exhibition to Premiere in September at San Diego Botanic Garden

One of a Dozen Gardens Participating Around the World

Featuring AR Works by artists including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin
Opening simultaneously in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Encinitas CA— In September, San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) will premiere the most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology. Seeing the Invisible will feature works by 13 international artists including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin — including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition, downloadable to smartphones and tablets. As one of a dozen participating gardens across six countries, SDBG is forging links with other botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe to stage this yearlong exhibition. Seeing the Invisible fosters collaboration among institutions, artists, and audiences to highlight the power of art and nature to connect people.

The first exhibition of its kind developed in collaboration among botanical gardens around the world, Seeing the Invisible was initiated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and is co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring. As part of Seeing the Invisible, the Eden Project is developing accompanying educational programming for children, educators, and families at San Diego Botanic Garden, every other partner institution, and online viewers around the world.

Seeing the Invisible will place the same exhibition of commissioned artworks in analogous sites in 12 outdoor garden settings located in different biomes, creating parallels and contrasts between them. For example, the same work might be set within a group of coastal prickly pear cacti in San Diego and among a lush forest of giant redwoods in Edinburgh. The AR nature of the exhibition allows for the creation of expansive, immersive works that engage with existing features of the natural landscape beyond the limitations of what is possible with physical artworks. Many of the works created for the exhibition will address related themes around nature, environment, sustainability, and explore the interplay of the physical world with the digital one.

Anticipating the opening of the global exhibit, SDBG President and CEO, Dr. Ari Novy, shared, “Botanic gardens are wonderful places to leverage art to explore our relationship with nature. San Diego Botanic Garden is thrilled to present Seeing the Invisible, a completely new kind of contemporary art experience, in partnership with outstanding artists and gardens from around the world.”

“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 Seeing the Invisible Co-Curator Hadas Maor. “In doing so, the exhibition engages a wide range of visitors with contemporary artworks, including a number that address critical issues around the environment, through this exciting new medium.”

“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 Seeing the Invisible Co-Curator Tal Michael Haring. “The interplay of these augmented reality works in vibrant natural settings breaks down the binary between what is often considered ‘natural’ versus ‘digital’, and in this way provides an exhibition experience that is much more connected to the way we live today.”

A Seeing the Invisible app for smartphone and tablet will be available for iPhone and Android in the App Store and Google Play. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

This project has been made possible in partnership with The Jerusalem Foundation. Support for San Diego Botanic Garden’s presentation of Seeing the Invisible is provided in honor of Frances Hamilton White, as well as by Leichtag Foundation and Suzy Schaefer.

For additional information and to book entry for the exhibition at San Diego Botanic Garden, please visit https://www.sdbgarden.org/Invisible.htm or www.seeingtheinvisible.art

About San Diego Botanic Garden

Founded in 1970, San Diego Botanic Garden is a 37-acre garden that inspires people of all ages to connect with plants and nature. The Garden’s four miles of trails showcase 5,000 plant species and varieties, including 300 plants for which SDBG is the only garden maintaining a population. SDBG has 15 gardens representing different regions of the world, 12 demonstration gardens and the largest public bamboo collection in North America. SDBG has three children’s gardens, including its flagship, one-acre Hamilton Children’s Garden, the largest kids’ garden on the west coast.

The main entrance to the Garden is located at 300 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA, 92024. SDBG currently requires all visitors (both members and non-members) to reserve an entry time online before arriving at the Garden.

Seeing the Invisible Artists

  • Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China; lives and works in Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Germany)
  • Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey; lives and works in Los Angeles, USA)
  • El Anatsui (b. 1944, Anyako, Ghana; lives and works in Nigeria)
  • Ori Gersht (b. 1967, Tel Aviv, Israel; lives and works in London, UK)
  • Isaac Julien CBE (b.1960, London, UK; lives and works in London, UK)
  • Mohammed Kazem (b. 1969, Dubai, UAE; lives and works in Dubai, UAE)
  • Sigalit Landau (b. 1969, Jerusalem, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Daito Manabe (b. 1976, Tokyo, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo, Japan)
  • Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991, New York City, USA; lives and works in New York City, USA)
  • Mel O’Callaghan (b. 1975, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Paris, France)
  • Pamela Rosenkranz (b. 1979, Switzerland; lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984; lives and works in New York City, USA)
  • Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. 1987, Denmark; lives and works in Berlin, Germany)

 Seeing the Invisible Gardens

  • Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver, Colorado, USA)
  • Eden Project (Cornwall, England)
  • Jerusalem Botanical Gardens (Jerusalem, Israel)
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Sarasota, Florida, USA)
  • Massachusetts Horticultural Society (Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA)
  • Royal Botanical Gardens (Ontario, Canada)
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne Gardens (Cranbourne, Australia)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens (Melbourne, Australia)
  • San Diego Botanic Garden (San Diego, California, USA)
  • Tucson Botanical Gardens (Tucson, Arizona, USA)
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