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The Augmented Landscape
Gardens of the Anthropocene premiered in 2016 as a Seattle Art Museum commission for its Olympic Sculpture Park. While no longer visible in the park, the mutated plants are being discovered in other locations - on the Stanford campus, in Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, and at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, MA. Tamiko Thiel’s augmented reality installation imagines a dystopian science fiction future for the landscape as we enter the Anthropocene—a new geologic time period created by human activity. In Thiel’s virtual world, native plants grow and mutate in response to the earth’s changing conditions, adapting to their evolving climate and altering the landscape as we know it. Some plants become reactive to the human gaze, feeding off electro-magnetic radiation from mobile devices. Others transgress natural barriers between sea and land, as rising sea levels bring them on formerly dry land.