Artist brings his world to Dunedin

Artist Joseph Michael checks out his augmented reality work in Otago Museum’s Tropical Forest. Mr...
Artist Joseph Michael checks out his augmented reality work in Otago Museum’s Tropical Forest. Mr Michael presented his work at the museum this week. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Southern residents can see the world without worrying about Covid-19 travel restrictions, thanks to a Dunedin artist.

The augmented reality experience Amazon-Raised Up Sky by Joseph Michael features the Amazon rainforest, Antarctic icebergs and New Zealand trees.

Mr Michael (38) said he was inspired to create the work by his travels to the Antarctic and South America.

"Not many people get to go to the Amazon or the Antarctic, so we’re bringing it to the city.

"It’s hard to understand the scale, for example, how big an iceberg is, so virtual reality is a way for people to experience that in its true scale."

Part of the work involves turning well-known buildings such as the Lincoln Centre, in New York, into a collapsing iceberg.

His artwork was based around science, Mr Michael said. He described art as a bridge to scientific understanding, by simplifying the science and explaining it visually.

Having spent much of his life travelling, Mr Michael spent a month in the Antarctic on an expedition that left from South America.

Afterwards, he spent more than three years living in Brazil, where he met his partner Mariana. He came back to New Zealand in 2019 to be the Artist in residence at AUT.

He has shown his work internationally, including projecting the icebergs melting and messages about climate change on to the UN headquarters in New York in 2019.

Amazon-Raised Up Sky includes an augmented reality screening, a documentary, and a talk from Mr Michael about his inspiration and artistic and digital processes.

Mr Michael’s next events will be on December 7, at the Lake Wanaka Centre, and December 9, at the Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre.

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