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17 – 28 May 2011

What happens to sculpture when it is rendered virtual? What do you gain and what do you lose?   In virtual reality concrete can float, liquid can solidify, but the materiality of sculpture, the space it takes up in relation to bodies, its inherent gravity is gone. Augmented reality software allows us to situate sculptures just about anywhere that they can be viewed through a smart phone screen but do we then lose something essential to the nature of sculpture or is this simply the next new tool for use by artists?

‘xyz’ is an augmented reality sculpture project commissioned by Site Gallery , to examine some of these questions.   In this experimental process-based collaboration, sculptures generated by Sarah Staton are interpreted within virtual space by Chris Hodson.

In addition to the debates around materiality that this project considers,  ‘xyz’ has highlighted issues around authorship, creative commons, and what might a virtual readymade consist of.   These virtual sculptures exist as noughts and ones in a space of their own, the viewing screen (enabled with the junaio platform),  is the portal that allow the invisible to become visible.  For ‘xyz’  a series of markers placed in and outside of the gallery and around the city will trigger the virtual renders created for this project to become visible on the screen of a smart phone or ipod touch (available in the gallery).

Within the gallery,  a palette of material elements, marble, concrete, steel, wood, glass, wool, and cork  that provide inspiration for the virtual sculptures are accompanied by  a new sculpture that is in part material and in part virtual and offers a further element of exploration within the ‘xyz’ arena.  In gallery 2 a projection  ‘xyz, a game of cuboid life and death’  is a coded loop of infinitely accumulating and dissipating cubes conceived by Sarah Staton and built by the physicist Dominic Hosler.

Sheffield-based students from media, and fine art courses are participating in the documentation, and installation and with technical aspects of the project.

Sculpture created from accumulations of simple solid forms have been explored extensively in constructivist and minimalist art, with the application of new technologies ‘xyz’ will bend, twist and reform these historical precedents into a mediated 3D ephemeral sculpture-scape.


  • Event: xyz


    27 May 2011 7pm–9pm

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