Born out of The Heavy Projects and PublicAdCampaign (heavyPAC) shared interest in public space, Re*Public aims to alter the current expectations of our public media environment. Up until now, property ownership, the ability to pay for its usage, or a willingness to break the law has dictated access to our shared visual landscape. This scenario has resulted in the proliferation of commercial outdoor media and the monetization of our common walls, which has marginalized artists and individuals from equally participating in public messaging.
In response to this condition, HeavyPAC has created an experimental mobile device application that digitally resurfaces buildings in urban centers by overlaying digital content onto the physical environment. Creatively harnessing augmented reality (AR) technology, Re*Public turns architecture into locations for cultural exchange and, in doing so, provides the user with a new way of seeing public space as a more democratic media environment. In collaboration with top contemporary urban artists, Re*Public hopes to create the first virtual mural program starting in New York City and Los Angeles. Additionally, we expect to build an inventory of AR locations in both cities, which we can then repurpose for other public media projects.
While we are excited to showcase the work of urban artists through a new virtual mural format, AR's ability to transcend current private property boundaries is at the heart of our endeavor. We are re*imagining a public space as an open visual commons that allows for a more equal participation in the free expression of ideas.