Synthetic Cells Documentation
Since the advent of our internet age, Michael Rees has been redefining objects by using digital technology and innovative material to engage contemporary themes and subjects with sculpture. The object serves as the starting point for a rich interactive experience. In this exhibition, he continues to explore materials by using inflatable objects—supplemented with the overlay of augmented reality—to add multiple layers of complex semiotic relationality. Inflatable objects have historically been seen in utopian furniture, architecture, and toys dating back to the 1960s.
Synthetic Cells is an n-dimensional sculptural project that uses augmented reality and inflatable vinyl sculptures to weave a rich melange around the collision of utopias and an updated 21rst century Chattaqua. Curated by Tom Moran, Rees also conceived of the exhibition as a para-site for artists working with augmented reality to create a show beside the site of the inflatable vinyl cubes. Grounds for Sculpture has invited guest curators Edward Winkelman and Murat Otrbozekov to curate the Para (Site) with 6 artists: Will Pappenheimer, Claudia Hart, Chris Manzione, Tamiko Thiel, Carla Gannis, John Craig Freeman.
From the start, Rees imagined this exhibition as a group experience where the sculptural works performed as a site for others' augmented reality experiences. The richness of artists working in augmented reality today and their different approaches would be a kind of Chattaqua in which this diverse and sometimes heady art experiences could be experienced as distinct channels in a single exhibition. It is different than a group show in that it is conceived as worlds within worlds, a multidimensional experience. Works are not organized around sympathetic themes in the exhibition but rather operate as portals to other spaces and experiences.