Reforestation of the Imagination at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Glass, fiberglass & digital pixels

Reforestation of the Imagination at the Renwick Gallery explores an expanded definition of contemporary craft and new technologies.

On exhibit: JUNE 28, 2019 – JANUARY 5, 2020
Renwick Gallery
Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

ROTI had its inaugural installation at MadArt Studio January to 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 landmasses 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 landmasses 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.

Reforestation of the Imagination at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum


Video by Amos Morgan, Courtesy of MadArt

Additional Images

AR Target Images from the Installation

Selected artwork from the installation is available to use with your iPhone or iPad. Click any of the images to see a larger version, then view the target image through Ginny Ruffner's AR app.

Download App & Instructions

Ginny Ruffner, Artist
© Ginny Ruffner, All Rights Reserved