Unexpected Growth
animated augmented reality installation
dimensions variable
Executed in 2018. This work is number two from an edition of five plus one artist's proof and is accompanied by a non-fungible token.
The artist
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Unexpected Growth (2018) strives to immerse the public in two grave threats to our ocean ecosystems: ocean-borne plastic waste and coral bleaching caused by global warming. Using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Unexpected Growth puts forth a futuristic, apocalyptic situation: imagining the Whitney terrace underwater as an eventual inevitability. This disturbing image is made visible through the screen of a smartphone or tablet.

When observing Unexpected Growth, one sees colorfully rendered coral reefs and hears calming underwater sounds. The viewers wait expectantly for schools of fish or algae to emerge. Instead, the production consists of non-biodegradable plastic debris: rubber ducks, plastic flip flops, sippy straws and others. As the day progresses, the saturated colors eventually dissolve, thus fortifying the symbolic destruction of the oceanic terrain. A fantastical dream transforms into a tangible nightmare.

The winning bidder will communicate directly with the artist to create a special, site-specific, geo-located install for this iteration. The first edition was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and now resides in its collection.

Tamiko Thiel (b. 1957) is a visual artist exploring the interplay of spatial temporality, corporeality, cultural memory and identity. As a mixed race artist of Asian & Caucasian descent, she is committed to crossing boundaries. Thiel is globally known for her augmented reality works that investigate socio-cultural patterns. Her installations seek to foreground notions of memory and culture by melding virtual and augmented reality with somatic, physical experiences. In addition to the Whitney, Thiel's work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a virtual reality work of hers in the San Jose Museum of Art in Silicon Valley was perhaps the first VR artwork in a United States museum collection.

To retain the values of her environmentally conscious art practice, pioneering new media artist Tamiko Thiel will work to define a process by which she can mint her work on a proof-of-stake blockchain, and invites the buyer to participate in defining this process. Additionally, she will donate 10% of her profit from the sale to an organization fighting climate change.

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