​​The augmented reality art exhibition titled: Seeing the Invisible can now be viewed at Kirstenbosch via your smartphone. Visitors of all ages will be entertained by the revolutionary way technology – augment the real world with virtual artworks for an unconventional art exhibition.

13 internationally acclaimed artists masterpieces are located on a route in Kirstenbosch

The exhibition will be featured simultaneously in 12 other botanical gardens around the world.
For example, the shimmering tapestry from artist El Anatsui will appear on your phone in the area of the famous Kirstenbosch concert lawn while a visitor to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh will discover the same artwork among giant redwoods. You’ll be able to walk around or through some of the art pieces and even hear sound effects.

Phygital – bridging the physical and digital world

The ground-breaking exhibition will allow Kirstenbosch visitors to observe 13 contemporary artworks from internationally acclaimed artists by means of a technology-mediated experience. The Seeing the Invisible app will use physical locations in Kirstenbosch and augment the real world with virtual artworks. The exhibition will be featured simultaneously in 12 other biomes all around the world.

Among the artists is El Anatsui, a sculptor from Western Africa, whose iconic recycled bottle-top installations shimmer gently as though moved by a soft wind. It’s a first for El Anatsui’s art to be adapted to AR. Other exhibits include new work by Sigalit Landau, which marks the artist’s first foray into AR, offers the viewer endless routes of investigation both around and inside the hidden creeks of a work inspired by the natural formation of a salt stalagmite. Also new, work by Jakob Kudsk Steensen revolves around the organic shape of a dried branch of cacti, furthering Steensen’s re-examination of the desert as omens of life, rather than symbols of death. In addition, the exhibition includes a meticulous translation of Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage into AR, and addresses issues related to power structures, habitats, borders, confinement, and restriction, but also caregiving, preservation, and nurturing.

Exhibition details

Visitors will be able to access the 13 Seeing the Invisible artworks at Kirstenbosch via a smartphone or tablet through the Seeing the Invisible app. The app is available for free to download from the Google Play or App Store: iOS Click here, or Android Click here

NB. Plan your Visit by Downloading the app

  • The Seeing the Invisible app works on Android and iPhones not older than three years.
  • We recommend visitors download the app at home.
  • Complimentary wifi will be available from the Visitor Centre (Gate 1) to download the app, but there is no wifi along the art route. Visitors must use their own data to use the app.
  • Bring earphones/headphones to experience the exhibition with all your senses.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged before you start.
  • Be mindful of other visitors’ private space as well as the plant beds and installations.

The Seeing the Invisible exhibition runs from 22 September 2021 to August 2022. It will be held inside Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden off Rhodes Drive, Newlands in Cape Town. Kirstenbosch and the exhibition will be open every day. Entry to the exhibition is free but garden entry fees apply; Botanical Society (BotSoc) members with membership cards will gain free access to the garden and exhibition.

Seeing the Invisible was developed as a collaboration of botanical gardens around the world. It was initiated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund, with the support of The Jerusalem Foundation. It is co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring.

For additional information about the exhibition at Kirstenbosch, visit www.sanbi.org/news or www.seeingtheinvisible.art. Follow #SeeingTheInvisible on social media for further updates.

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