AR Art on the Square: New Babel

We are excited to feature our collaboration with William T. Ayton and Diana, Ayton- Shenker and Maya Georgieva from the XReality Center on the New Babel public AR Art project. New Babel is an Augmented Reality (AR) public art installation featuring works of William T. Ayton, that transforms the heart of NYC into an immersive art environment. Imagine a towering fusion of original art, emerging technology, and digital media, soaring nearly 1000’ high, yet held in the palm of your hand. This pilot AR installation is a tribute to The New School’s role in catalyzing social change, and as an homage to New York City as a global center for towers of knowledge, creative freedom, enterprise, and in-gathering.

Activated in and around Union Square Park in NYC, its AR elements offer new ways to view themes of universal human rights, fundamental freedoms, collaborative innovation, creative expression, and intellectual inquiry. Created by artist William T. Ayton, in collaboration with The New School’s Global Catalyst Senior Fellow, Diana Ayton-Shenker, New Babel was incubated and produced in close coordination with Maya Georgieva at the XReality Center and Parsons Design and Technology alumnae Min Kwan.

The installation centerpiece is an AR skyscraper-tall structure, a colossal, six-tiered New Babel Tower soaring approximately 60 stories high (627’), representing humanity’s collective collaboration and aspiration of upholding a new world. Rooted in the ground of Union Square Park, the tower reaches up toward an emergent AR world, depicted as a multi-colored, diaphanous sphere, a revolving globe in the sky, hovering above New Babel. The globe’s surface is texture-mapped with Ayton’s original painting used on the book cover of A New Global Agenda by Diana Ayton-Shenker.

The New World globe is 360’ in diameter, slightly exceeding the base of the tower, illuminating the sky above the interior of Square. New Babel’s central tower will be surrounded by additional AR art framing the perimeter of  Union Square Park with “Four Freedoms ReNewed,” a series of four AR billboards, and the “UDHR” wraparound banner of human rights. Freedoms ReNewed are large-scale, AR “billboard” panels flanking each side of the Square with an updated rendering of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Thought.  An AR ribbon will wrap around the Square, encircling the central structure with the Ayton UDHR series of 30 images illuminating the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (during its 70th Anniversary year).

How to see New Babel: 
New Babel is designed to be viewable via hand-held devices (phones, tablets, etc.) and accessed via poster-based scan codes distributed throughout the square, or through a pre-downloaded app. Access is free to the public.


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