For those not yet in the know, “augmented reality” is the space where virtual reality and the real world intersect; think of it as a kind of enhanced reality. As a nifty consolation, while The Metro Tunnel Project is underway, the Flinders Quarter Augmented Art Walk uses technology to breathe extra life into new and existing works of art through sound, visuals and interactivity. A dozen pieces of art can now be uncovered in the arcades, underpasses, lobbies and laneways of the city blocks bounded by Flinders, Elizabeth, Collins and Swanston Streets.

To find them, you need to download the free EyeJack app and pick up a map (from businesses around the precinct or from Metro Tunnel HQ at 125 Swanston St). Even the map becomes animated! This self-guided tour is designed so that you can shop, grab coffee or explore a gallery en route. And most of the artworks are accessible 24-7.

Will Huxley of The Huxleys on their work ‘Pink Fit’ in Scott Alley…

We were inspired by the Bauhaus. Some people say [our piece] reminds them of dildos or soft serve. We wanted to create a queer, colourful, exuberance for the laneway; especially in winter with all the construction. We’re like, “this is the most glamorous, ridiculous thing possible”. Flinders Quarter is important to us because in this area there are a lot of artists and designers and [the other half of The Huxleys] Garrett used to have a studio in the Nicholas Building. We both love Vali Myers who was a Melbourne artist who had a stuido in there. Also Lee Bowery is a big influence on us; he was an amazing Australian costume designer. Lee used to catch the train from Flinders Street back to Sunshine, back when he was studying at RMIT. We love his work and that’s often an influence in what we do. We just wanted to make a party at the end of the laneway. Yesterday, I was saying, “it can be like Saturday night fever on a Tuesday morning”. It’s like a disco and the most stupid, funny, ridiculous, colourful thing we could think of. Bringing it to life and seeing the disco animation happen was really fun. It’s been great to bring what we do and force everyone in Melbourne to have to walk past it!

Adele Varcoe on her work ‘Growing Garments’ on the corner of Flinders and Degraves Streets…

Last year I created a work as part of Melbourne Metro Tunnel [Project for Melbourne Fashion Week]. There were 12 figures in this work – it was called ‘Me in Couture’ – it invited the audience to see themselves in a mirror in these pretty out-there garments made from plasticine. So we selected one of these garments and reimagined it with the EyeJack crew. I was doing a whole lot of research into the ragtrade from the 1880s to the 1960s and looking at the growth and decline of that space. The flowers in this piece they grow and decline, but also suggest that the lane may flower again.

Vexta on her piece ‘The Rising Orb: Hope’ on the corner of Degraves Place…

My mural has been in the area for three years maybe, in three different iterations. Which has been really nice with a lot of support from the City of Melbourne for me to continue to keep that mural there. It really has become very much a part of the fabric of the laneway. People love it. Last time I was there repainting it people were telling me, “stop, don’t touch the rainbow!” I was like, “no, no, I’m the artist. It’s fine. It’s gonna be better!” So I love that work. When I painted it originally that area was really dark. It’s called ‘The Orb’ because it’s part of my Orb Series which reflects the sun and the moon above us. The shapes are representative of the particles that make up all matter. So it’s about how we’re all connected to natural wealth and to each other and about bringing colour to that area. It’s been there for a while and when I was approached to have it augmented it was exciting for me because that’s a direction I see my work going in; bringing art and technology together. Even just coming here I was watching so many people on their phones – it’s a big part of everybody’s daily experience. It’s exciting for me as an artist to subvert that use of technology to make somebody experience something that is actually in the real world in a different way.

/ The Flinders Quarter Augmented Art Walk is now live until September 14, 2019

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