Thursday night Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) proved technology is art. Ten innovators of South Florida’s tech scene joined with PAMM to showcase how their platforms are more than just 1’s and 0’s.
It was a rare cold evening in South Florida. I can’t remember the last time we stayed solid in the 40’s for an entire day so it was a little surreal watching people walk around Biscayne Bay in coats, boots and scarves. But wow, how the sunset behind the Miami skyline put on a show. It set the night’s tone in one of beauty and wonder.
I got to the museum right on time at 6pm. Since this was my first visit to PAMM, I spent a little time exploring the outside architecture of the building before seeking shelter from the chill. The museum is vast with contemporary architecture showcasing works amidst a mid-century background of stark walls and sharp angles. I perused a few landscapes from John Dunkley’s Neither Day Nor Night collection and listened to Dara Friedman’s raw capture of every day sounds in her exhibit Perfect Stranger. But these are all mediums used for expression by artists time and time again. Tonight, we were all there to see what artists are doing with the newest medium: technology.
// Technology as Art
At 7pm, everyone gathered in the auditorium while one after one Florida’s tech players took the stage, each presenting their vision of merging tech and art. Hats lifted to PAMM for hosting alongside the Knight Foundation, pitching in with generous financial support while making both art and tech an accented point in their agenda for community growth. One of the evening’s main features was highlighting PAMM’s new augmented reality mobile app, developed by Daruma Tech from Boca Raton. In collaboration with Miami artist Felice Grodin, Daruma transposed Florida wildlife amongst the museum’s man-made landscape to create the app and art piece Invasive Species.
“What will Miami look like in 200 years?” asked Grodin, “This is what the exhibit depicts. Technology permits us the ability to transpose (art) into reality with AR as the exhibition and art the medium.”
The PAMM building is designed to withstand function in up to 20-foot sea level rises. With a degree in architecture from Harvard, Grodin pulls on her background to envision a mutation of creatures and flora overtaking the building, merging with its prong features while marrying the limitless qualities of technology within space to expand art and how we experience it. In essence, her use of augmented reality allows us to create a space that was previously impossible to touch. Grodin “highlights the transformative and unstable state of our ecosystem, speculating about a not-so-distant future affected by climate change and overtaken by uncanny creatures.”(i)
While Grodin provided the art, it was Daruma Tech that transposed it into pixels. Experienced in the South Florida educational sector, Daruma Tech has developed an impressive resume of works in museums across the state, but it was their current project for the Vizcaya Museum that really caught my eye.
Miami’s premier estate is nearing it’s centennial and sees over 210,000 visitors annually. That’s a lot of wear and tear and it shows. Not to mention hurricanes, with Hurricane Irma eroding the central part of the mansion’s iconic barge. Darum’s gang of tech-enthused artists use traditional and drone photography in combination with 3D print models, laser scanning and the original blueprints to create an AR app that portrays damages to the museum’s structure over time.
Other projects by Daruma Tech include apps at the Discovery Museum, Florida Museum of Natural Science and Gumbo Limbo.