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children of Arcadia

Children of Arcadia

Exhibition: April 24 - May 15, 2009
Reception: First Mondays @ the CAC Gallery
(Artist Reception): May 4, 2009, 6-8 pm

As part of the Cambridge Science Festival, the Cambridge Arts Council (CAC) and Boston Cyberarts present Children of Arcadia, created by new media artists Mark Skwarek and Joseph Hocking. This interactive, multi-media exhibition brings a large-scale, 17th century, Baroque-style painting to life. The panoramic painting projected on the gallery wall, accompanied by high-quality surround sound, shifts between a representation of apocalyptic ruin and idealized utopia, depending on real-time local and national news generated from various Internet news feeds.

Children of Arcadia presents an ever-changing, augmented reality that combines representative elements of the physical world of downtown Manhattan (New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall Memorial and Federal Reserve buildings) with a virtual environment of lush, rolling green hills. The work gathers real-time information from the Internet related to national and local socio-economic events. This data is then translated into either a utopia, represented by a pastoral scene or at the other end of the spectrum, apocalypseChildren of Arcadia, depicted in the digital painting as rain and thunderstorms and the crumbling of representative financial and governmental "monuments" or institutions. With a game controller, visitors can further interact with and explore this real-time virtual Arcadia as it shifts between these two extremes.

Mark Skwarek is a new media artist working with 3-D graphics and video game technology to create non-goal oriented experiential works. Mark's current body of work tries to give context to society's present condition in the United States by drawing from related social and political issues in real time. These weighted concepts are mixed with public augmented realities to give new meaning to the experience of the physical space. Mark's goal is to fuse public space and virtual reality to create a truly unique experience that transcends our known reality.