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New Exhibition Is Highlighting Black Culture Throughout NYC Using Augmented Reality

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by Paulina Isaac

December 17, 2023

There’s a new must-see exhibition in New York City!

Digital art platform Kinfolk recently launched its NYC-wide exhibition called the Signature Series. Through augmented reality or AR, the series places digital monuments that represent Black history and culture across the city created by New York artists Pamela Council, Derrick Adams, Tourmaline, and Hank Willis Thomas. The Kinfolk app lets people view the digital monuments using tech created by Niantic Lightship (the company behind Pokémon Go).

“I want people to understand the spaces that we’re walking around. Understand that the government and institutions are not prioritizing the lives and impact of Black, brown, and queer people on the spaces that we walk through. Kinfolk is an initiative and an organization that’s committed to reimagining these spaces and prioritizing Black, brown, and queer communities within them,” says Idris Brewster, who co-founded Kinfolk along with Glenn Cantave and Micah Milner.

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Brewster told ESSENCE that using AR to view the monuments is needed due to the lack of places to tell Black stories. “That’s why we have to use AR in the first place because there are very few physical markers that showcase the spaces and the culture that we brought and built within this city,” he says.

The app is easy to use. You can download it and instantly have access to a map that will show you different locations across NYC where digital monuments can be found. Once you select a specific monument location, the app directs you to that space. The app will alert you when you get close to the location and prompt you to go to a specific location where you can point your phone, and the digital monument will appear.

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He continued, “With our location-based technology, we can create public art exhibitions with ease, giving access to artworks and histories that would have been otherwise inaccessible or forgotten.”

(Cover photo: Derrick Adam’s Alma Green (Open Book) and Victor Hugo Green (Open Book), Photo Courtesy of Kinfolk)

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