press release

Vishal K. Dar. Edge of See: Twilight Engines. Site-specific installations embed augmented reality virtual light sculptures in former military sites. 20.01.2019 - 03.03.2019

Opening: 20.01.2019 14:00 - 18:30.

Part of an ambitious global project by artist Vishal K. Dar, Edge of See: Twilight Engines uses site-specific light sculptures viewed through an augmented reality app to push our senses of vision, scale, motion, and time. Dar brings his primary question—what is the edge of sight?—to the built environment of the Marin Headlands, using technology to overlay former military batteries with abstract light sculptures, or “engines,” that spin, turn, and tumble in response to the environment. In Project Space at Headlands, Dar installs wooden architectural models of the batteries, also activated through the augmented reality app, as well as maps, sketches, and video work.

Visitors to the exhibition will download a smartphone app in advance, then head out into the coastal terrain to find three former army batteries. Sited on bluffs above the Pacific Ocean, the batteries afford views of both land and sea—a location key to Dar’s project. With the augmented reality app, viewers can use smartphones or tablets to view virtual light sculptures overlaid on the sites.

Gaining increasing notice in international and Indian contemporary art, for the past several years Dar has created epic and immersive site-specific works that employ architecture, computer-programmed light installations, and other digital technologies. Originally trained as an architect, he uses technology to plumb the mythic and the personal, the philosophical and the perceptual. With Twilight Engines, he brings these concerns to the uneasy landscape of the Marin Headlands.

In creating his site-specific works, Dar often chooses to work in ruined spaces like the Marin Headlands batteries. “There is something hauntingly beautiful about encountering sites of abandonment and ruin,” he says. “My immediate reaction to such spaces is, how can I connect with their present state so that I can reimagine them as marvelous beings? I am moved by these sites because they have run out of the functionality they were created for. But that does not mean they are defunct.” To the contrary, Dar capitalizes on the disconnect between a site’s past and present to insert sculptural experiences that change the way the viewer sees, thinks about, and relates to the location. Moving through the liminal spaces of military sites and screen, Dar’s “engines” unlock a world of other realities.

The Headlands installation, Twilight Engines, is part of Edge of See, a series of works that investigates edge sites around the world and the way we relate to borders where the ocean meets land. This site-specific work was commissioned by Headlands Center for the Arts and first developed when Dar was an Artist in Residence at Headlands in 2017. The first installation of Edge of See launched in November 2018 in Lulea, Sweden; upcoming installations are planned for Delft Island, Sri Lanka; Okinawa, Japan; and the Diomede Islands.