In 2013, artist Ivan Toth Depeña was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant for his proposal of blending art with augmented reality. After working on the project for nearly two years, it's finally time to launch. You can find Lapse all over the city: on the Metromover loop, at Museum Park, on the walls and lamp posts of Wynwood, and in downtown Miami.
At its core, Lapse is all about telling a story of a disrupted real-world event, says the mastermind. "The organic matter of the protagonist fuses with artificial intelligence to create a digitized being," Depeña says. "It’s a futuristic approach that dissolves the boundaries of physical reality and an alternative, virtual world. I want people to both revere and reflect on our increasingly technologically entwined lives.”
Depeña partnered with the Heavy Projects, a Los Angeles-based software development company, to create a mobile app that brings his characters to life. To use the app, hold your device up to a building or mural or area, and through your phone or tablet, you see a whole different world.
The story within the Lapse app is told using six interwoven components throughout several parts of Miami. The first two, known as "The Visions" and "The Collective," comprise a series of publicly accessible murals in parts of Wynwood and downtown.
The third piece — and probably one of the coolest — is "The Sounds." This part is an audio soundscape discoverable on the downtown Metromover. To fully experience it, hold the app up while on the loop and see distorted images while listening to a rhythmic tune that ebbs and flows as the car moves. You'll probably get some stares from your fellow riders, but it'll be worth it.
The fourth element of Lapse is "The Writings," where written prose is seen virtually when walking through Museum Park. At first, when you hold the app up, a series of geolocated figures will appear onscreen. The closer you walk, the clearer the written images will become. These are scattered throughout the whole area.
Depeña was commissioned by Locust Projects and Miami-Dade County's Art in Public Places to bring together all of his pieces as a complement to Lapse. The installation is called The Moment and is on view in the Design District.
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The whole project sounds like a lot of work for one artist. But Depeña had a little help from his friends. Aside from winning the Knight grant, he collaborated with 15 local artists for the artwork featured in "The Collective" and "The Visions." For "The Sound," music was composed by Brad Laner, and for "The Writings," Depeña received contributions from innovators such as Miami-based visual artist Jillian Mayer. He also worked on the graphic design himself with the help of Miami native and current NYC designer Chris Pacetti.
And what do you get when you mix a good idea, two years of hard work, and several of Miami’s most talented artists? A new interactive, immersive way to tour the Magic City.
Available to the public beginning Thursday, May 19. Download the app at lapsemiami.com.
Through June 4 at Locust Projects. A conversation with the artist will be held June 30. Visit locustprojects.org.