Knight Arts Challenge Winner Ivan Toth Depeña to Launch Citywide Art Installation Next Year

Art Basel 2013 has come to a close, but art in Miami is 365 days a year. And with the recent winners of the Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge, there's plenty to look forward to in the months ahead.

We're gearing up to see lots of new art around the city, and part of that will be thanks to Ivan Toth Depeña, one of the Knight Arts Challenge winners. For his winning grant proposal, Depeña presented the unique idea of blending public art with augmented reality. "The initial proposal was to implement an expansive, multidisciplinary public art project utilizing augmented reality," he says, adding that he intends to use audio, video, photo, and dynamically generated images for the project.

Depeña's grant totaled $50,000, which will go towards his efforts of bringing interactive art to the public. He explains his vision for the project as "an immersive, city-wide public art installation that utilizes geographic location and augmented reality to initiate contemplative and unique viewer experiences." What does that mean in layman's terms? Think of an audio tour mixed with an abstract and virtual scavenger hunt, says Depeña. It's all very multi-sensory.

As Depeña describes it, the project will ultimately "challenge reality by pushing outside of the physical realm."

"Throughout the process, the participant will examine the existing urban landscape, art/architecture/sculpture, engage in site specificity, reflect on time and history, experience the relationship between sound and image, and question what is imagined and what is real," says Depeña.

With his earnings, Depeña has crafted a budget that includes working with a team of software developers and creative coders to help him build an advanced mobile application "from the ground up," he says. "The project is an ambitious one, so there are lots of costs associated with making something that pushes technological boundaries and spreads as far into the city of Miami as possible."

Aside from the development aspect of his project, Depeña will also direct various productions to be included as part of the final installation. That includes hiring musicians, dancers, actors, poets, writers, and other visual artists - basically, the end result will be an outpouring of artistic talent.

Miami-Dade Art in Public Places has already agreed to be a part of the final project, the artist continues, "since it will be primarily a comprehensive network of virtual public art." He is planning on launching the untitled project in various phases, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for late 2014.

For more on Depeña, visit

Send your story tips to Cultist at [email protected].

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Carolina del Busto is a freelance writer for Miami New Times. She nurtured her love of words at Boston College before moving back home to Miami and has been covering arts and culture in the Magic City since 2013.