A computer rendering of “Wake,” a shipwreck sculpture by artist Mel Chin, which will be physically present in New York City’s Times Square and also serve as part of “Unmoored,” a mixed reality component. (Courtesy of Mel Chin)
New York City’s Times Square is already a bustling and chaotic location when experienced in everyday reality. In augmented reality, the center of Manhattan will become otherworldy, thanks to an artistic endeavor that relies in part on Microsoft HoloLens.
In collaboration with New York-based arts organizations Times Square Arts, No Longer Empty and Queens Museum, Microsoft has helped develop a mixed reality work called “Unmoored” to serve as a companion piece to “Wake,” a large-scale sculpture by the artist Mel Chin.
The 60-foot-long “Wake” — created to evoke the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of a marine mammal — blends with the digital world of “Unmoored” in HoloLens to make it look as if the skyscrapers and blinking neon of Times Square are being viewed from below rising waters. “Wake” also features a 21-foot-tall animatronic female sculpture, derived from opera star Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,” whose figurehead was once mounted on the USS Nightingale, a 19th century clipper ship.
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