2011, augmented reality project for smartphones using Android OS and iOS and art installation

The installation consists of a smartphone with a demo of the augmented reality project, a wall-mounted object made of acrylic mirror, a window-mounted print on transparent foil, and two videos - an animation presenting Arcelor Mittal Orbit Tower (prior to its completion) and a video of the artist’s study of perspective for the same tower.

Size of wall-mounted object 240 x 180 cm; size of window-mounted print 120 x 500 cm.

Presenting two towers in augmented reality on smart phones, Freestanding invites audiences to compare the concepts and contexts in which the structures were conceived. One of the towers was never built, but managed to become one of the most recognizable examples of the constructivist movement and is considered one of the symbols of modernity in the early twentieth century—Vladimir Tatlin’s project for the four hundred meter high Monument to the Third International (1919–20). The other tower is ArcelorMittal Orbit, designed by Anish Kapoor for the Olympic Games in 2012, which is expected to become a landmark of London. Although, nearly a century divides the two projects and in that time huge changes in technology and society have taken place, the political need for such symbols of progress and power remains largely the same.

The two towers will are recast and, with the aid of GPS technology, positioned as virtual monuments in the city of Tallinn. They appear on smartphones using Android OS systems and Iphones. During the gateways exhibition, augmented reality models of the towers are available for download and visitors of the city can see them on their smartphones. In the gallery space an installation tells the story of the towers in drawings and objects.

Towers serve propaganda purposes. Their ideas rely on the well‐established model of creating symbols out of gigantic technical and architectural constructions. Petko Dourmana ridicules such strategies by reducing these architectural monuments to purely virtual representations.

Freestanding was commissioned for and presented in the exhibition gateways. Art and Networked Culture at Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 13 May to 25 September 2011.


Himmelsbach, Sabine, ed., gateways. Art and Networked Culture, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2011

(available from Hatje Cantz Verlag)