Architecture Exhibitions International
SPAN, Augmentations of the Real © MAK Center for Art and Architecture, 2018

SPAN’s installation, Augmentations of the Real, presents itself as an occasion to interrogate the opportunities that augmented reality present for the discipline of architecture. The notion is discussed from different angles, from aspects of the enhancement of spatial experiences to aspects of AR as an agent of culture. Special attention is given to the way these techniques seamlessly fuse aspects of visual culture with considerations of materialism. Augmented reality, per se, is defined by the application of metaphoric gestures as an interface between the material and the symbolic realms of computational environments. In this sense, AR applications propose a synthetic ecology—primarily defined by their inherent properties such as simulation, enhancement, and intelligence gathering—an overlap of two levels of information, physical and computational.
Augmentations of the Real is embedded in speculative territory: moments of uncertainty collide with aspects of precision and control, and AR thus negotiates multiple experience levels and allows for new potentialities in contemporary ornamentation. The installation intends to add to the “post-digital” discourse in this current era of architecture, where computational tools are part of the normal reality and other aspects of digital design are positioned centerstage; however, the tools are not the main actors, rather the cultural agency produced by those tools.
In conjunction with SPAN’S Augmentations of the Real, artist Jay Yan’s installation, I didn’t say I was ugly, I said I was fat, will also be on view in the Garage Top. His work explores the relationship between body aesthetics and the ideal amalgam of form and function in modern design. SPAN and Yan have remained in dialog since first meeting during the architects’ MAK Center residency in Los Angeles in 2007.