Creating a more equitable future requires the ability to dream of something better. So the fourth and final installment of “Art Is Revolution (AIR),” our 3D virtual exhibit celebrating groundbreaking Black creators, focuses on the future.
“The artists this week are paving the way into new art and tech,” said Danielle Elise, curator of “Art Is Revolution” and founder of the All Black Creatives foundation and agency. “They are making us conscious of things we do not yet see.”
The installation spotlights art that both imagines what the future will look like and brings together cutting-edge applications for art and tech, she says. “Afrofuturism is a beautiful form of art that depicts both the past and the future of Black culture worldwide. We can imagine things as they were and also as they may be.”
HuffPost teamed with All Black Creatives and RYOT, Verizon Media’s immersive storytelling production house, to bring this art to readers’ homes at a time when many museums and galleries are closed.
Using different technologies, including drone-captured photogrammetry, we have transformed artwork into augmented reality (AR) displays for you to explore. By using your mobile phone, you can also bring these pieces, virtually, into your own space. Just click the camera icon at the top right of your screen.
In curating Part 4 of this series, Elise says she’s asking viewers “to accept a new reality, to become conscious of things they may not have otherwise seen.”
Being able to see Black culture reflected within a cutting-edge medium – web AR – demonstrates the reality that Black is the future, she says. This exhibit creates a world where “Black is future and Black women lead the way.”
“This week brings together AR visuals that take us out of our own space and time and ask us to imagine something different, very literally in our own physical space,” she said. “As we create the future of our world, we have to look to each other. We have to continue to challenge the status quo and the believed perspective.”
Missed our previous exhibits? Check out the other installations in the ‘Art Is Revolution’ series:
One artist who has incorporated new tech into his art is Damon Davis, who created three virtual altars inspired by all of the negative and positive energy coming at us this year.
Altars are used in cultures all over the world, especially Black and brown cultures, to channel energies toward enlightenment, salvation and loss, he says. “I think of altars as places for us to lay our burdens down.”
The altars he has created embody three specific emotional states – joy, grief and protection – and are meant to serve as a “virtual conduit” for those feelings. Each altar is accompanied by a soundscape and short meditation.
Davis wants people to engage with the altars and accompanying materials however they see fit.
“I don’t want to be super prescriptive with this project,” he says. “I can see people using this as a guided meditation thing. I can see people taking photos of the altars in space in locations that conjure the corresponding emotion that a certain altar represents.”
I chose these three feelings because these are simply the emotional states I feel myself in the most right now. In times like these, I believe it is helpful to not only wear a mask to protect your physical health, but also to have something on you that can help protect your spiritual well being and state of mind.
The world grows more uncertain by the day. I want people to use this art to think about their emotional and mental health and make time to prioritize taking care of themselves. These altars also aim to protect Black futures. We, as Black people, especially have to take care of our minds and souls because there is no future if we don’t survive the present.
My pieces are created to take up space and to unapologetically give their own personalities as human beings. Each piece has their own spirit and purpose, just like every human being. They stand tall and proud as a representation of an unforgettable and prominent culture. This gateway of creation uplifts the idea of self-love, confidence and appreciation.
Below: One of Murjoni Merriweather’s pieces.
My art is a vivid celebration of diversity. Through my illustrations, murals, animations and AR, I create a Black future that’s joyful, proud and empowered.
Below: One of Aurélia Durand’s animations.
I enjoy telling stories and asking questions through my art in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and draws the viewer in to keep on looking. While utterly dreamy, many of my collages are packed with covert symbols that are designed to raise specific questions in the minds of the viewer and challenge traditional notions on specific themes such as Afrocentrism, Afrofuturism, love and gender expression.
Below: One of Alexis Tsegba’s pieces.
Surrealism is something I’ve always been drawn to and throughout my journey as an artist I’ve found that digital collage using programs like Photoshop has allowed me to highlight that in my work. With my pieces I wanted to create little worlds in my art that myself and the viewer can get lost in by playing with scale, shape and texture, providing an escape from reality.
Below: One of Nkosi Ndlovu’s pieces.
In the moments I spend exploring the city, I’d look upon my hometown and fantasize about what could be — parking garages in need of a mural, overlooked green rooftop opportunities, concrete that could be a rain garden, etc. One day, I got tired of simply thinking about these things and decided to paint the picture for myself and others. That’s why I decided to use my skills to create these images of what I imagine to be Loutopia. Since then, I’ve been working to sell the idea of what life could look like in St. Louis and beyond.
Below: One of Jayvn Solomon’s pieces.
All images courtesy of the artists.
HuffPost: Ivylise Simones, Creative Director; Jennifer Kho, Director of Strategic Innovation; Francesca Syrett, Global Managing Editor, Video
WebAR experiences produced by RYOT: Karen Masumoto, Co- Creator/ Creative Director; Danielle Jackson, Co- Creator/ Art Curator; Jake Sally, Executive Producer; Aisha Yousaf, Art Director; Guenever Goik, Head of CG; Patrick Love, Producer; Matt Valerio, Project Manager; Christina Douk, Lead CG Artist; Prabuddha Paul, Visual & 3D Designer; Alexandra Boden, Surfacing Artist; Thorsten Bux, WebXR Expert & Lead Engineer; Sean McCall, Product Manager Immersive Platform; Ricky Baba, Creative Director; Nigel Tierney, Executive Producer