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Times Square Becomes Flooded In New Immersive Art Experience

Conceptual artist Mel Chin transforms Times Square with AR to commentate on climate change.

A number of artists have begun to explore just what can be created by using the new mediums of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Recently conceptual artist Mel Chin has become one of them, creating an MR experience that saw New York City transformed.

The Six-minute MR experience let visitors don a Microsoft HoloLens to see a haunting vision of what Times Square would look like when submerged under water.

The experience is called Unmoored, and was created to let viewers see what would happen if climate change and global warming continue unchecked as ice caps melt and sea level rise.

“I see Times Square as most Americans might; it represents the endless clock, the public heart of New York City,” Chin said in a press release. “Placing a work in Times Square tests its capacity to engage the imaginations of a population that is more diverse than in any museum or gallery I can think of.”

Chin is known for his work in highlighting social and cultural issues. His studio website states: “He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas.”

Unmoored shows animated boats floating 26 feet above the ground, over time, the number of boats increases, until there is gridlock. As the experience enters its final scene, sea creatures begin to appear, and the boats begin to rust and decay.

Unmoored and another AR installation called Wake form part of Chin’s multi-location exhibition, referred to ‘All Over the Place’ which has been co-produced by New York non-profit No Longer Empty and the Queen’s Museum in partnership with Times Square Arts.

For future coverage on new applications for AR technology, keep checking back with VRFocus.

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