Venice Biennial 2011
AR Intervention by
Cyberartist Group Manifest.AR

The international cyberartist group Manifest.AR wishes to inform the general public, the President and the Curator of the 54th edition of the Venice Biennial that we are extending the Giardini with extra pavilions. We have construct these new pavilions using Augmented Reality (AR) architecture and are showing a selection of AR artworks from renowned artists working in this contemporary medium and new spatial realm.


As "one of the world's most important forums for the dissemination and 'illumination' about the current developments in international art" the 54th Biennial of Venice could not justify its reputation without an uninvited Manifest.AR Augmented Reality infiltration. In order to "challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed" we have constructed virtual AR pavilions directly amongst the 30-odd buildings of the lucky few within the Giardini. In accordance with the "ILLUMInations" theme and Bice Curiger's 5 questions our uninvited participation will not be bound by nation-state borders, by physical boundaries or by conventional art world structures. The AR pavilions at the 54th Biennial reflect on a rapidly expanding and developing new realm of Augmented Reality Art that radically crosses dimensional, physical and hierarchical boundaries. We demonstrated the fundamental impact of this new art form in 2010 when founding members Sander Veenhof and Mark Skwarek staged the exhibition "We AR in MoMA", creating an Augmented Reality space within the walls of the iconic MoMA New York - without permission of the institution. Our new virtual Biennial pavilion inside the Giardini will "draw attention to the importance of such developments in a globalised world."
[Read Bice Curiger's original statement.]


Augmented Reality is the art of overlaying virtual content on top of physical reality. The increased availability of free Augmented Reality viewers on mobile phones has brought this technology out of the lab and created a participatory form of mass media. A globally augmented sphere has arisen as a result of the now massive worldwide presence of people capable of accessing one shared virtual space through their mobile devices. Whereas traditional Virtual Reality (VR) created a world of its own, timeless and indifferent to its context, AR is intrinsically tied to its local physical environment. Uniting the strengths, features and possibilities of both the physical sphere and the virtual sphere, AR provides artists with an unparalleled and extensive universe of possibilities with infinite degrees of freedom. AR enables the creation of artworks and concepts that could not have been realised with just physical or just virtual means.


The GPS-based placement of virtual AR pavilions into the Giardini is itself a manifestation of the power of Augmented Reality. These pavilions are primarily however platforms to showcase a selection of AR artworks that incorporate archetypical AR constructs to either achieve new sculptural forms or reflect on the radically changed equilibrium between venue, artwork, artist, audience and curator. And be warned: virtual walls are insubstantial walls - the artworks have already spread to the Piazza San Marco and may take over all of Venice.


We hereby cordially invite Venice Biennial visitors to come and experience the Manifest.AR Art Pavilions in the Giardini and Piazza San Marco, beginning on the official preview days June 1st, 2nd and 3rd 2011 and continuing for the duration of the Biennial until November 27, 2011.

For an online preview of our AR artworks, times and dates of press conferences and AR tours, plus information on how to access and where to find them, please visit our Venice Biennial 2011 Intervention blog.

For viewing Instructions on site in Venice download our 1-page flyer.

Concept and organization by Manifest.AR founding members
Tamiko Thiel, Sander Veenhof, Mark Skwarek.

Original announcement: 25 January 2011

Last site update: 24 May 2011

[ download a pdf of this announcement ]