This new, monumental Augmented Reality (AR) public sculpture is geolocated over the ocean in Florida at two specific sites: one at 32nd Street and the ocean, directly behind the Faena Hotel, and the other over South Pointe Pier. Baker Cahill’s work is situated in Miami as one of many cities around the world threatened by rising sea levels. The corresponding NFT will be released on Aorist.
This installation can be seen as an extension of Baker Cahill’s recent research and practice— notably her 2021 AR projects in Los Angeles, Seoul, and Berlin; Legacy, which drew attention to the threat of climate change by creating a swirling force over the Pacific Ocean and Tempelhofer Field; and the NFT, site- specific, collaborative project Contract Killers, which framed the lack of accountability surrounding eco- laws and contractual agreements in the context of broken social contracts.
The Mushroom Cloud installation itself is an animated drawing that is accessed through 4th Wall, Baker Cahill’s free AR application. Viewers will witness Baker Cahill’s AR drawing as it explodes up from the ocean surface and transforms overhead into a cloud of a different kind; a resilient and generative mycelial network (fungal colonies which form the connective tissue of all carbon-based life on earth) in the sky. The rhizomatous fungal structure’s filaments eventually spread through the sky, creating a beautiful and intricate sequence of interconnected arteries. This project insists upon viewer action and interaction; they must journey to the pier or to the beach to engage directly with the artwork. The artist’s hope is that the act of gazing upward might prompt an embodied experience of ‘ergonomic awe’. Here, Baker Cahill drives home the importance of looking to nature to remedy and provide hope for our planet’s ecological future. In this project, Baker Cahill and her Contract Killers collaborator, art attorney Sarah Conley Odenkirk, dig deeper into what it means to be part of a decentralized sustainable network, and to be accountable to one another and to the planet. Supplementing the NFT structure, which is built on the Algor and blockchain, Conley Odenkirk articulates bespoke terms that support the visual work of Baker Cahill. Collectors will have the opportunity to acquire ‘nodes’ that mimic the coloring and aesthetics of the mycelium filaments in the animation. Each cube will consist of a Caribbean-blue base and a suspended ‘spore’ representing the collector’s role in supporting and germinating another mycelium structure and making a meaningful contribution to an interactive community. The nodes are offered as singular ‘primary nodes’ (6×6 inches), ‘secondary nodes’ (4×4 inches), or ‘tertiary nodes’ (2×2 inches). As an outward manifestation/extension of the project’s NFT agreement, collectors are invited to ‘gift’ a smaller node to someone meaningful in their community, stimulating a generative force and a wide sustainable network beyond themselves. Using AR, Baker Cahill effectively provides a platform and installation that advocates for human responsibility and accountability in the ecological crisis, inspiring the audience to create connections with one another and to be active in encouraging sustainability in their everyday lives.
NANCY BAKER CAHILL
Nancy Baker Cahill (b. 1970, United States) is a new media artist based in Los Angeles whose work positions itself at the intersection of fine art, social advocacy, and bleeding- edge technology. Cahill works with graphite, paint, video, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as mediums. She describes her art as an attempt to ‘examine power, selfhood, and embodied consciousness’. She explores issues of social injustice, the declining health of our environment and important questions of identity through her digital installations. Cahill launched her app ‘4th wall’ in 2018. ‘4th Wall’ is a free, augmented reality app which serves as a platform for curated and collaborative AR art exhibitions and site interventions. Her installations have also been praised on an international scale, earning her profiles in publications such as The New York Times, Frieze Magazine and The Art Newspaper. Moreover, her works have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries such as Francisco Carolinum Linz in Austria, The Hermitage, The Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, König Galerie in Berlin and Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles. Sarah Conley Odenkirk is a partner at CDAS where she practices fine art law, emerging technology and NFTs.