Reforestation of the Imagination is the latest project at the Renwick Gallery to explore an expanded definition of contemporary craft and new technologies.
On exhibit: JUNE 28, 2019 – JANUARY 5, 2020
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
ROTI had its inaugural installation at MadArt Studio January - March 2018.
ROTI combines traditional sculpture with Augmented Reality (AR). By using technology to overlay digital information onto sculptural objects, two disparate environments are portrayed.
The initial environment consists of five barren land masses which support the colorless glass stumps. Except for the painted shelf mushrooms and painted tree rings on the stumps and logs, the scene is colorless. The five land masses surround a sixth rocky outcropping where a beautifully grotesque bronze and fiberglass tree exists. This central tree, made of various materials (fiberglass, bronze, plastic) that have survived this devastation, is returning to a familiar canopy shape.
The devastated landscape appears at first glance to be barren. Yet, upon viewing the tree rings aided by Augmented Reality technology, a second environment is revealed. Plants appear (both fruit and flowers) which have evolved from existing flora. They have developed dramatic and beautiful appendages and skills necessary to adapt and flourish in this new radically different environment. From accessing nutrients in ways that symbiotically improve their surrounding conditions, to developing new protections from new threats, these adaptations are unexpected, beautiful and optimistic.
This is nature reimagining itself. The imagination can’t be exterminated. It just recreates itself.
2017 Institute for Systems Biology
2017 Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology
2016 Seattle Art Museum
Originally inspired by interviews with genetic research scientists, Poetic Hybrids incorporates real time human creation with augmented reality to illustrate improbable hybrids with holograms. This project gives the audience an opportunity to influence the creation of holographic sculptures, first by choosing the components and then by ‘painting’ on the holograms.
Ruffner began the project by compiling a list of words scientists used when describing their reasons for becoming a scientist, their motivations, and what they find beautiful in their research. Viewers will be invited to select two of these evocative and ephemeral entities—including such varied ideas as “discovery,” “pattern” and “giggle”—to be hybridized by the team of artists. Rapidly designing, modeling and building each virtual hybrid, the artists will deploy the finished holographic sculptures to iPads where they can be both viewed and further altered by visitors using augmented reality.