Adobe commissioned me to create an immersive Augmented Reality (AR) experience that helped capture the sense of possibility of starting a new year.
“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvellous.” -Aristotle
Nature’s beautiful and mesmerizing patterns surround us: from the spirals of a shell to the petals of a flower. Although my work is primarily digital, I draw great inspiration from the natural world.
The project fuses analog and virtual, past and future. Wonder Kingdom repurposes and reimagines historical nature etchings (public domain). My collage practice is one of the things that initially drew me to AR in 2005: the desire to craft new worlds and ideas from two dimensional elements, and transport those dreamscapes into physical reality in three dimensions.
Details throughout the project were inspired by travels to Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, and Spain. A culmination of dreams and desires manifested from memories of past experiences, the virtual architecture is as much a memory palace as it is a Wonder Kingdom. At a time when many of us have been unable to travel due to the global pandemic, Wonder Kingdom was created in a state of deep contemplation and becoming still, journeying inward to simultaneously travel no where and everywhere.
Commissioned as a shrine to creativity and new possibilities, Wonder Kingdom is an immersive Augmented Reality experience viewable on iOS devices.
The virtual architecture provokes curiosity and delight, with both visual and auditory aesthetic details to explore in 360 degrees. Meditative sounds uplift and subtly blend in an atmospheric soundscape, responsive to your position with directional spatial audio. The orbiting virtual stars create a dynamic symphony when they collide with each other and the surrounding landscape. Secrets are embedded in the archways: Sounds of the ocean shore are triggered by your body’s proximity to each elephant in the archway (a nod to memories of the Gulf of Siam and an elephant who delighted in the crashing beach waves).
A living, breathing form of architecture, Wonder Kingdom also serves as a memento mori. The words "Choose Wonder Over Worry" (a phrase inspired from author Amber Rae, a champion for creativity) adorn a series of arches, a gateway to human imagination and limitless possibility. As you walk through the archways, the seaweed directly below “Worry” parts to make a clearing (triggered by your proximity), a welcome to continue your creative journey.
I envision future iterations of the work as a digital runway for acclaimed fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Her latest Spring Summer 2021 collection "Roots of Rebirth" is inspired by the natural world, specifically the "fungi queendom" (a delightful synchronicity with the mushroom topped arches of my AR "Wonder Kingdom"). Van Herpen is known for her ethereal and other worldly designs, fusing technology with meticulous Haute Couture craftsmanship. Collaborating with van Herpen's atelier to extend her work into the virtual realm with AR is a dream I aspire to.