Yard Sale in the Sky is an art project that borrows from the structure and function of a community yard sale. Ideas for "virtual" yard sale items are proposed and produced by local artists. The objects at this yard sale are not from the attic and basement, but are digitally rendered products of Augmented Reality (AG). The first Yard Sale in the Sky event took place on the elevated platform of Chelsea's High Line Park in New York during May 2011, programmed as an off-site event for "Gradually Melt the Sky", an the augmented reality group exhibition at Devotion Gallery in Brooklyn. A longer run two-day event took place in the parking lot of Jo's Hot Coffee in Austin, TX on in April 2012, and was commissioned as a public art project by Art Alliance Austin and Fusebox Festival. At the end of these events, virtual yard sale items were relocated to buyers homes using geolocation technology. Participating artists in New York City included: Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty, Eteam, Sue Havens, Joe McKay, Alisdair MacRae, Robert de Saint Phalle, and Penelope Umbrico. Participanting artists in Austin included: Melanie Clemmons, Stephen H Fishman, Zak Loyd, Saul Jerome E San Juan, and Casey Smith. This page documents Yard Sale in the Sky in Austin. This iteration of the project was commissioned by Art Alliance Austin for Fusebox Festival 2012.
Using a free phone app called Layar Reality Browser, shoppers can see the virtual yard sale items on their iPhone (3GS and 4) or Android smartphones when passing through each object's programmed longitudinal/latitudinal location. Much like a physical yard sale, the visitor discovers each thing as he or she wanders through a physical space, but in this case the chotchkies, furniture, lawn mowers, etc. are virtual and only become visible through the use of our phones.
By placing this yard sale booty at a specific site in Austin using geolocation and asking us to find and purchase them, Lucas finds a playful way to explore the ways we allow or don't allow digitally produced and distributed images, information, and objects into our everyday life. Lucas is mapping the physical experience of a bargain hunt onto the virtual, bringing those worlds together through commerce and relocation. This merging of the physical and virtual is one of the stated goals of Augmented Reality whose manifesto describes AR as a new form of art that "shows up in the Wrong Places. It Takes Stage without permission. It is Relational Conceptual Art that Self-Actualizes."
Once a bargain hunter finds an object he or she wants - and, according to the artist, the objects are "priced to move!", the customer purchases it from Lucas and yard sale attendants who oversee the event much like a neighborhood yard sale is monitored by homeowners. In exchange for cold, hard cash, Lucas agrees to relocate the virtual object to a buyer's exact location. These objects, like invited phantasms, then take up residence with their new owner. Lucas put out an open call for Austinites to participate in the project, making it a multiple party yard sale. Part scavenger hunt, part collaborative enterprise, Lucas's investigation of traditional commercial exchange using virtual objects is an event that is at once familiar and foreign. It is grounded in a collective experience of the yard sale, but floats in and out of sight via a technological sensory organ, the phone. Click for a list of Yard Sale in the Sky items, prices, and descriptions.
Yard Sale in the Sky is a project of Kristin Lucas.