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By Meg Watson
June 28, 2014
By Meg Watson
June 28, 2014

The Archibald Prize isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of artistic gadgetry. This coveted national portrait prize is often full of celebrities, sure, but they're usually rendered in expressionistic swathes of paint or meticulous photorealism. It's rare that we get treated to something on the vanguard — and even rarer to have someone deem Wil Anderson's familiar one-liners worthy of a place in one of the nation's best galleries.

The portrait, which has been submitted for consideration of the Archibald Prize this week, is the work of Canberra artist Luke Cornish (aka E.L.K.). Predominantly known for his stencil work, Cornish has stepped out into unfamiliar territory creating an interactive artwork of the much-loved comedian that comes to life with the help of a video app.

While the piece that hangs on the wall appears as a regular stencilled portrait, when you point a tablet of smartphone at the artwork, the image turns into a real-time video within the frame. A creepy virtual reality version of Wil Anderson leaps forth from your device and starts riffing on religion and Steve Jobs. It's as excellent as it is terrifying.

The result of a collaboration with augmented reality specialist — aka the person with the coolest job ever — Amber Standley, this work looks like the start of something very exciting not only for the Archibald itself, but for art in general. "My plan is to start doing some large-scale mural portraits," the artist told The Herald Sun. "You can imagine walking down Elizabeth Street and holding your phone up to a mural and it just comes to life."

A far cry from the unsightly QR codes that we still don't quite know how to figure out, this is some gadgetry we can definitely get behind. Instead of walking down the street flipping mindlessly through Instagram and Facebook we could now be interacting with the street art around us — while still firmly affixed to our phones, of course.

As far as Cornish's portrait goes, we won't know if it's a finalist for the prize until July 10, and we won't be able to see it until the exhibition opens in Sydney on July 19. But, suffice to say, we have a good feeling it'll get through. Get your smartphones at the ready — this is definitely one to check out (even if you can't stand Wil Anderson).

Via Herald Sun and Citynews.

Published on June 28, 2014 by Meg Watson


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