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When we started VIVAAR VENEZIA we had nothing more than the idea of presenting performance art in an Augmented Reality format in public space during the 60th Biennale Arte di Venezia. Our basic idea was to visualise performance holograms on site in a defined public space. A place where the viewer can scan, see and video capture the AR hologram, in a context with aesthetic and visual meaning.

We were, of course, familiar with Marina Abramović’s beautiful work The Life (2019) and the popular game Pokémon Go (2016), both of which inspired us in different ways. We were completely unaware of the new technology of volumetric video being developed, the landscape of the industry, or its promise for the future. But, we had a vision. To extend the human-centred action of performance art in time and space to real life and in duration, bringing human empathy and spirit to people’s screens and minds.

We researched and contacted a vast number of companies and individuals, made a few unsuccessful applications for funding, contacted the artists who were all passionate about this pioneering initiative. Despite the lack of funding, we believed in our vision of future human-centred art holograms. We knew full well that if Joseph Beuys or Andy Warhol had lived, they would have used it, probably even helped us.

So we went ahead with the personal conviction that this was important not only for the present, but also for the future. We understood that the hologram was a revolutionary technology for human-centred art, that it was ahead of its time, especially when merged with augmented reality and public space, and in the not too distant future, displayed in new devices like smart glasses. But again, we didn’t know, we just had a vision, an idea, it was uncharted territory, with risk and change following us every step of the way.

In our search for partners in the relatively small world of hologram innovation, with its different technologies, competing studios, companies and motivations, we were very fortunate to find professional support from the people behind the visionary company, Volograms with their own AI driven technology, who agreed to help VIVAAR realise its vision. Rafael Pagés, Jan Ondřej and Aljosa Smolic, experts with over 20 years of experience and research, were not only passionate about contemporary art, but also aware that VIVAAR was, as one of them wrote, “breaking new ground”. A similarity of mindset, spirit and perspective made our partnership a strong and empowering collaboration with direct artistic implications.

We are now here in Venice at the 60th Venice Biennale in April 2024 with a new pioneering high-tech and human-centred art exhibition, a mobile showcase of how art and technology can interact, how the digital body can remain authentic through the human act.

It has become clear for us that VIVAAR is an example and a model that needs to be taken from Venice to other art capitals of the world, to Paris and London, to New York and Beijing, as a statement of how art and technology can become one, used in a human-centred way, without losing authenticity through digital reproduction.

That it can help empower citizens and users of new mobile technologies to articulate what Joseph Beuys, with his broad conceptual understanding of art and life, once formulated with philosophical clarity and human humility in a single phrase of utopian vision: “Everyone is an artist”.

Jonas Stampe & Xiao Ge