Arts preview: 'Hidden Layers: An Augmented Reality Art Show' at Blockfort

Jim Fischer
Columbus Alive
"Self Portrait with Peaches and Cilantro" by Kate Sweeney

Sitting at a Downtown coffee shop, Natalia Sanchez is talking about “Hidden Layers,” the upcoming exhibition she's co-curating with Ariel Peguero at Blockfort during June. Meanwhile, Peguero quickly works on his phone, using an app called HP Reveal, to create a short video that plays if a device, using the same app, is pointed at one of the show postcards stacked in the middle of the table.

This is how “Hidden Layers: An Augmented Reality Art Show,” is essentially adding a gallery space at the Downtown studio and gallery without the need for any new construction or renovation. Or even any added space.

Technology and the participating artists will take care of it.

“It's as if we will have two galleries at once that are connected and exist in the same space,” Peguero said. “Two realities at once.”

Peguero said he's used the technology in marketing and branding efforts but “didn't think about it in the art sense until [Sanchez] brought it up.”

Sanchez has employed different kinds of technology in her work over the years and has always wanted to do an exhibition employing it in some fashion. She approached artists who she thought might be interested in the tech and/or whose practices she thought might be a good fit for an augmented-reality show. She had those who were interested in to her studio to workshop the app, and then set them loose to incorporate it into their art.

“I wanted them to think about how the app could take their work in a different direction, maybe, or how what they were doing could benefit from adding this element,” Sanchez said.

The possibilities are manifold with HP Reveal (which Sanchez and Peguero recommend exhibition patrons download prior to arrival), including adding video, morphing shapes or lines, changing color — just about anything an artist's imagination can conjure.

“I want [the exhibition] to be about looking beyond what's there,” Sanchez said. “I like the idea that it could be like entering a whole different realm.”

“Hidden Layers,” which will include painting, sculpture, photography and digital art, opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and continues through June 30 at Blockfort.

Sanchez said the technology will also be used as part of the Alley Islands street festival that will happen outside Blockfort, also on Saturday.


Reception 5-7 p.m. Saturday, June 2

162 N. Sixth St., Downtown