The Whitney Museum of American Art introduces Cento, an augmented reality (AR) art project created by Nancy Baker Cahill, marking the institution’s first collective audience-built AR project starting October 3rd.
Cento is a digital, hybrid “creature” whose evolution relies on the collective participation of the museum’s visitors. Its monumental multi-species body will virtually soar over the Meatpacking District. Through Baker Cahill’s free, artist-designed app, 4th Wall, users can place feathers on the futuristic creature’s body and witness its transformation.
With each contribution, the creature will change and grow stronger, becoming more adept at the engagement of an ever-expanding community of participants. Cento’s metamorphosis over time underscores the necessity of collaborative action.
According to the official press release, Cento’s serpentine body is lined with scales and fungal filaments, squid-like limbs, manta ray wings, a machine head, and vibrant feathers. Each of the twelve feathers provides a different evolutionary advantage, including communication, navigation, energy conversion, and memory, which are crucial to the creature’s survival.
The installation poses a question: Can a being, envisioned as an amalgamation of humans, cephalopods, microbiomes, birds, fungi, fish, and machinery, meet or surpass fundamental evolutionary needs?