VENICE BIENNIAL 2011 AR INTERVENTION
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by Will Pappenheimer
[ LAUNCH ARTWORK ]
The History of the Bufo Virtanus Heroicus Sublimis toad
In 2008, researches at the Virta-Flaneurazine Laboratories identified a hardy specimen of Bufo Virtanus for release on a test parcel near the virtual Virta-Flaneurazine (VF) clinic for research purposes. The Bufo Toad toxin, Bufotenin, secreted from the amphibian’s back, is a known psychotropic substance to humans, though it can cause seizures in animals. The effects and molecular structure of Bufotenin was a model for creation of Virta-Flaneurazine. With no natural predators and an abundance of suitable habitat, the Bufo Virtanus soon reproduced vigorously and began spreading to neighboring SIMs. This was the first VF Bufo colony or "infestation." In July of 2010 researchers were startled to find that some VF dosage tests resulted in an unexpected breaching of the software barrier beyond virtual worlds and into other online social networks.
On October 9, 2010 a surprise augmented reality exhibition was launched in MoMA, entitled "We AR in MoMA." Virta-Flaneurazine Laboratories was invited to participate. Their submission was a very large, live sculptural Bufo Virtanus toad capable of sending visitors on wanderment journey though lands of various internet mediums. The new form of Virta-Flaneurazine produced by this installation is called "VF betaAR".
On November 14 VF Labs entered a wider human test phase at a citywide exhibition, BETA Spaces 2010 in Bushwick, Brooklyn (NY). The Drug tests were part of an art program called the "Bushwick Augmented Reality Intervention." By this time the secretion of the Internet wanderment drug, VF betaAR, from the Bufo toad's skin was well developed and visitors were able to contact the toads in a local park and then experienced various effects in different areas of the city using common handheld devices.
Later in November, 2010, the MoMA Bufo Virtanus specimen conjoined with the MoMA exhibition, “Abstract Expressionist New York," seemed to have multiplied and mutated into what has been named the Bufo Virtanus Heroicus Sublimis subspecies, taking its name from the famous Barnett Newman painting exhibited there.
During the Anselm Kiefer exhibition entitled, “Next Year in Jerusalem” in December of 2010, researchers at VF Labs discovered that the subspecies originating from the colony at MoMA, had spread to the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, NY. It is not yet known what habitats the subspecies gravitates towards, other than heroic or sublime artworks which certainly would include those of the Anselm Kiefer exhibition.
There are reports of other colonies in Mexico and Europe. Apparently these are fast spreading species. They are being tracked by VF Labs and will be documented in the near future.