Mural Arts Philadelphia Creates Philadelphia's First Augmented Reality Mural
After the culmination of a year-long partnership, Mural Arts Philadelphia has brought to life Philadelphia's first augmented reality mural. Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny, created by artists Joshua Mays and King Britt, is the first partnership of its kind, connecting public and private high school youth to create a project in a community in which they cohabitate. Mays and Britt, two cutting-edge thinkers, have brought a multimedia sight and sound installation to the heart of West Philadelphia's Conestoga neighborhood. Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny involved students from Haverford School and Mastery Shoemaker Charter School to imagine the possible futures of West Philadelphia. The project integrates art and technology through image recognition and the sounds of an original score, based on community interviews and youth-created sounds. Using a free app available on smartphones, created by Blue Design, viewers will see and hear the art come to life.
Media are invited to experience a sneak peek of the augmented reality technology and to meet the artists at the Mural Arts Month Press Preview on Thursday, September 27, at 11 am at the Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny mural, 5300 Lansdowne Avenue. Hear about this project and some of the other projects to be highlighted during the month of October.
Two events during Mural Arts Month in October will feature the Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny artists and formally dedicate the project.
Sunday, October 7, 4 pm
muraLAB with King Britt, Joshua Mays, Walé Oyéjidé, and Jill Is Black
This Mural Arts think-tank-style speaker series features a discussion from four artists working in music, painting, design, and poetry. King Britt, Joshua Mays, Walé Oyéjidé, and Jill Is Black will speak on the topic of legacy, from the conceptual to the practical.
Tuesday, October 9, 4 pm
Mural Dedication: Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny
5300 Lansdowne Avenue, FREE
Last year's collaboration between artist Joshua Mays and DJ and producer King Britt continues with an augmented reality mural in West Philadelphia, integrating art and technology through image recognition and an experimental Afro-futuristic score. The public is invited to the dedication, and to download the free smartphone app from Blue Design for the full experience.
Youth enrolled in the Mural Arts Art Education program from two schools - one private school on the Main Line and one public school in Philadelphia - worked with the artists to create imagery and sound used in the project. In classes this summer, students worked with Britt and Mays on visualization of images, sound samples, and archives to reimagine the Conestoga neighborhood and possibilities for its future. Downloading the free smartphone app from Blue Design will give viewers the full experience to the augmented reality.
Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, said, "Mural Arts is always open to new ideas and new ways of working in public space. So, when King Britt and Joshua Mays approached us with an idea for a multi-disciplinary mural project that would be scored like a film, we were enthralled. As it turns out, this project is not only visually stunning, it blends technology and public art-making in unexpected and innovative ways. And what is most exciting to us is that the young people in our Art Education program are truly the co-authors of a work of public art that is unlike anything else in the city and beyond."
About the Artists
Joshua Mays is an Oakland-based painter, muralist and illustrator. Born in Denver, CO, he studied illustration at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and graphic design at Community College of Denver before moving to Philadelphia, where he lived and worked for eight years before exhibiting and traveling nationwide. He has created commissions in Washington, DC, Denver, Portland, Philadelphia, Oakland, London, Johannesburg, Mexico City, and Jakarta.
King Britt is a Philadelphia-born composer, DJ, music curator, and a 2007 Pew Fellow. A global traveler, he carries the history of his musical legacy into the future. As a composer, he has collaborated with the likes of De La Soul, Madlib, Moor Mother, and many others, being called for remixes from Meredith Monk to Solange, and composing for films including Miami Vice. King has performed live in a number of forward-thinking performance contexts and spaces, including thousands of clubs from Berlin to London to Johannesburg. King combines music, culture, and performing arts in his work, curating collaborations for MoMA PS1 (Queens), Fringe Arts (Philadelphia) and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville). As the first resident DJ at Silk City (Philadelphia), King co-created Back2Basics with DJ Dozia: an innovative music collaboration which merged a live band with a DJ performance. King was the original DJ of the Grammy Award-winning Digable Planets, and has since focused on his DJ (house, techno, hiphop, soul) and production aspirations. He has continued to DJ globally, spinning in every continent except Antarctica. Over the decades, King has played at thousands of clubs and festivals including AfroPunk (NYC), Berghain (Berlin), Liquid (Tokyo), Capital (Johannesburg), Rex (Paris), Fabric (London), and Output.
Supporting the artistic efforts of the project, muralist Eric Okdeh led the painting process to create the mural panels that have been installed on the wall. The mural was funded by The Haverford School; Mural Arts Philadelphia led the partnership between Mastery Shoemaker Charter School, Parkside Community Association, and The Haverford School.
Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation's largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 30 years, Mural Arts has United Artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating nearly 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to understanding with projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts' iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the "City of Murals." For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. Follow us on social media: @muralarts on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.