Posted: October 20, 2023 / News

Mond Qu (with Sonny Do & Edward Yee), ‘Chasing the Sun’, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2023. Photo Charlotte Curd

Snapchat and Australian artist Mond Qu are bringing Aussies an immersive new ‘ARt’ experience at this year’s Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi exhibition. This will be the first-ever augmented reality (AR) artist collaboration for the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition, using hyper-realistic ray tracing technology to create a ‘secret’ sculpture which visitors can unlock at Tamarama beach.

Created with the Snapchat team by utilising the platform’s world-leading AR technology, Melbourne-based artist Mond Qu has imagined a spectacular, gleaming AR artwork that interacts with the environment and extends his on-site sculpture, titled ‘Chasing the Sun’, high into the sky and surrounds, the experience blending the physical realm with the digital.

Mond Qu’s large-scale sculpture, installed in the sand at Tamarama beach, features over 1,000 glimmering circular light reflectors in a geometric design which scatters sunlight in diverse directions to create a dazzling display that changes as the sun rises and falls.

Using Snapchat, visitors to Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi can unlock an augmented reality lens, which transforms ‘Chasing the Sun’ into an interactive artwork. With the integration of ray-tracing technology, which allows for digital objects to interact with accurate lighting and reflections of real world objects in real time, the lens uses the sun to create different experiences depending on the time of the day. With an AR overlay, ‘Chasing the Sun’ becomes a fully immersive experience that tracks the arc of the sun as it moves through the sky and allows exhibition visitors to build on and expand the sculpture into the landscape around them.

Those who can’t make it to Sydney can also experience the magic of Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and ‘Chasing the Sun’, through a global Snapchat AR lens, also developed in collaboration with Mond Qu. Using ground and surface tracking, this lens lets Snapchatters anywhere in the world place the sculpture into their own environment, scaling the work to fit on a table, the floor or in any location in their surroundings, so they can chase the sun wherever they are.

Multi-dimensional artist Mond Qu, commented: “Working with Snapchat has given me the opportunity to take my ‘Chasing the Sun’ artwork into another dimension to create a unique blend of interactive project and sculpture, which portrays our profound connection with light across both the real and digital worlds.

“The sculpture consists of two complementary facets: the physical and the digital. On one hand, the physical structure stands as a beacon on the beachfront, capturing the brilliance of the sun. On the other, its digital twin amplifies the structure’s prominence within the virtual domain. This allows viewers to navigate through time effortlessly with their fingertips, witnessing the sculpture’s transformation throughout the day.”

Using cutting edge technology, Snapchat has collaborated with world-renowned artists to create global lenses and site-specific AR experiences in the US, Europe and the Middle East. The partnership with Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and its creative collaboration with Mond Qu brings this to Australia, and follows on from projects with artists and museums including Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Alex Israel, Christo, The Pompidou Centre and The Gagosian.

Tony Keusgen, Managing Director of Snap Inc. ANZ, said: “We have a long history of iconic collaborations that continue our tradition of pushing creative boundaries and merging the physical and virtual worlds – and this is no different. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Mond Qu and one of Australia’s most iconic exhibitions, Sculpture by the Sea. Using the largest ray-tracing technology in Australia, we will be bringing the magic of AR and a super shareable, immersive experience to Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi this year and we can’t wait for visitors to experience it.” The free Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi exhibition takes place along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk and will be open from 20 October until 6 November.

To unlock the on-site AR experience created in collaboration with Mond Qu, visit ‘Chasing the Sun’ on the sand at Tamarama beach and use your phone camera to scan the QR code, or search in Lens Explorer on Snapchat.

David Handley AM, Founding CEO & Artistic Director of Sculpture by the Sea, adds: “We have always championed artists working at the cutting edge of their craft, those testing the possibilities of materials and technology, so bringing together Snapchat, the global leader in AR, with Mond Qu, felt like an incredible opportunity to deliver a new and innovative experience to our visitors for the milestone 25th exhibition this year.”

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