London’s Biggest Virtual Art Festival Is Coming to Your Living Room

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Courtesy the artists / Acute Art

For one month only, Unreal City – the capital’s largest augmented reality art exhibition – is now free to enjoy from the safety of your home

Unreal City, which launched along the River Thames early last month, has responded to new lockdown measures by moving away from the capital’s centre and into people’s homes. 

Organised by Acute Art and Dazed Media, Unreal City features work from the world’s leading virtual artists, including Olafur Eliasson, Cao Fei, Marco Brambilla and Bjarne Melgaard. In the original exhibition, viewers would be able to see the site-specific pieces through the screen of their smartphone, while walking along London’s Southbank.

However, as of today, you won’t even need to leave your house: the art will be viewable from anywhere in the world, as long as you have the Acute Art app on your phone. “The beauty of augmented reality means that ... we can respond to interest and the new lockdown measures by bringing the exhibition to you,” explains Daniel Birnbaum, artistic director of Acute Art and curator of Unreal City. Rather than compromising people’s safety, he says that organisers decided to harness the accessibility of augmented reality, giving more people the chance to enjoy the work.

“You can have Nina Chanel Abney’s ‘Imaginary Friend’ in your sitting room, Bjarne Melgaard’s ‘Devil Man’ in your kitchen or ‘TAKE’ by KAWS floating in your bedroom,” he adds. “The world can come to a halt but art doesn’t stand still.” 

Other artists include Alicja Kwade, Tomás Saraceno and Koo Jeong A. The Unreal City artworks will be available to view from Tuesday 12 January-Tuesday 9 February 2021 via the free Acute Art app.