Seeing the Invisible
Unprecedented augmented reality exhibition appearing at 12 botanical gardens around the world
From September 2021 to August 2022
The Seeing the Invisible is the first exhibition of its kind to be developed in collaboration between botanical gardens and art institutions from around the world, co-curated by Hadas Maor and Tal Michael Haring, Seeing the Invisible was initiated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens and Outset Contemporary Art Fund and is appearing simultaneously across 12 gardens across the world from September 2021 until August 2022. The exhibition features 13 augmented reality (AR) works by artists including: Ai Weiwei, Issac Julian CBE, Daito Manabe, El Anatsui and Refik Anadol.
Visitors can access the exhibition via an app on their smartphone or tablet activated on-site throughout the participating gardens.
About the exhibition
Seeing the Invisible supports the need to access art and culture amid the continuing pandemic, encouraging people to come back out into their communities and engage with contemporary art from around the world.
The exhibition also launches in the face of another global crisis – the planetary emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss. The exhibition’s themes centre around our relationship with nature and explore the boundaries and connections between art, technology, and nature. Each artwork offers a thought-provoking, experiential space for the viewer to consider its specific themes.
Although all the gardens present the same exhibition, the artworks are displayed in unique locations, offering different perspectives to viewers depending on where they are in the world. The nature of AR means that there has been no disturbance to the grounds of the participating botanical gardens and the carbon footprint of the exhibition has been kept to a minimum
To find out more, please visit the Seeing the Invisible website.
How to experience the exhibition
Seeing the Invisible is accessible via smartphone and tablet through the unique Seeing the Invisible app, which is available to download for free in the App Store and Google Play. When you open the app, a GPS map will be displayed, this will show you a suggested route around the Garden to see all of the artworks. The app will notify you with a drop down banner when you are within range of an AR artwork, and prompt you to place the artwork within a designated zone by scanning the area with tyour device. Once placed, you can view, interact with, hear, and take photos of the artwork using the app.
What is augmented reality (AR)?
Augmented reality, or AR, refers to any technology that ‘augments’ or adds to the user’s view (and in some cases auditory perception) of their environment. Usually, digital information is superimposed over an existing real-world environment and is fixed in one place as the user moves around it or moves their device around it. AR is not a simulation of reality – instead, it integrates and introduces something unreal into the real world, adding to the user’s perception.
Helpful tips for using the app:
- Download the app before you arrive in the Garden. It can be downloaded once at the Garden using the visitor Wi-Fi connection but depending on device capabilities it may take a while.
- For optimum experience make sure your device is unmuted, and your volume is on.
- We strongly advise that you bring headphones with you. Most of the artworks have a soundtrack that accompanies them.
- Charge your phone in preparation of using the app especially if you hope to do all the pieces in one go. Augmented reality software uses lots of processing power and subsequently lots of battery power.
- Artworks can be established anywhere within the hot zone, if the first location doesn’t work for you, try again.
- The app can be supported on devices without needing Wi-Fi or Data. However, you are welcome to log on to our visitor Wi-Fi, particularly if your GPS location isn’t initially following you. Alternatively, turn on your Bluetooth.
Artists and artworks
- Full list of artists and artworks
- Sigalit Landau (b. 1969, Jerusalem, Israel; lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel). Title: Salt Stalagmite #1 (Three Bridges), 2021
- Ori Gersht (b. 1967, Tel Aviv, Israel; lives and works in London, UK). Title: Forget Me Not, 2021
- Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing, China; lives and works in Berlin, Germany; Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal and Cambridge, UK). Title: Gilded Cage AR, 2017/2021
- Isaac Julien CBE (b.1960, London, UK; lives and works in London, UK).Title: Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave) AR, 2015/2021
- Refik Anadol (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey; lives and works in Los Angeles, USA). Title: Machine Hallucinations: Nature Dreams AR, 2021
- Mel O’Callaghan (b. 1975, Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Paris, France and in Sydney, Australia). Title: Pneuma, 2021
- Timur Si-Qin (b. 1984, Germany; lives and works in New York City, USA). Title: Biome Gateway, 2021 Courtesy of the artist and Société, Berlin
- Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. 1987, Denmark; lives and works in Berlin, Germany). Title: Water Serpent, 2021 Courtesy of the artist
- Pamela Rosenkranz (b. 1979, Switzerland; lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland). Title: Anamazon (Green Limb), 2021
- El Anatsui (b. 1944, Anyako, Ghana; lives and works in Nigeria). Title: AG + BA (AR), 2014/2021
- Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991, New York City, USA; lives and works in New York City, USA). Title: Dawn Chorus, 2021
- Mohammed Kazem (b. 1969, Dubai, UAE; lives and works in Dubai, UAE). Title: Directions (Zero) AR, 2010/2021
- Daito Manabe (b.1976, Tokyo, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo, Japan). Title: Morphecore Prototype AR, 2021
- How much with Seeing the Invisible cost?
Exhibition costs vary depending on the venue. At RBGE, the exhibition will be free for our daytime visitors. In some cases, we will run evening sessions which will have a charged. Please check our website for details of upcoming events.
- Do I need to download the app onto my device to experience the exhibition?
Yes. The app you will need to down is called Seeing the Invisible. It will work on Apple and Android devices and will be available for free in the App or Google Play stores.
- Will the app work on my phone?
Unfortunately, the app does not work on every model of phone. You need to have a phone that allows for augmented reality and that operates using either iOS 11 or Android 8.0 Oreo (API 21).
- What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?
Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone or tablet. Virtual reality (VR) involves a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world, often by using a specialized VR headset.
- Will I need a headset or other special equipment to experience the exhibition?
No, this is an AR exhibition that will be accessible via the Seeing the Invisible app, which can be downloaded to any standard smartphone or tablet through the App Store or Google Play.
- What if I don’t have a smartphone or tablet?
Unfortunately, at this time the exhibition is only accessible via the Seeing the Invisible app, which can be downloaded to any standard smartphone or tablet through the App Store or Google Play
- Will this be the same exhibition at each venue?
While the works of art will be the same, the experience of the exhibition will be different at each venue, as the works will be sited in different locations as well as climates. The extraordinary thing about Seeing the Invisible is that many people can be viewing the works simultaneously in different countries around the world, but the experience will differ greatly based on the garden and the context for the artwork.
- Will I be able to take selfies/pictures of the exhibition?
You will be able to take pictures of the exhibition using your phone or handheld device while in the exhibition through the screenshot feature. Due to the nature of the AR technology, rather than taking a selfie, we recommend that someone else hold the device to take pictures of you with the artwork.
- Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
The 30-acre Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is the largest in Israel and the only one of its kind in the Middle East. JBG boasts Israel’s broadest collection of live plants (over 6,600 species), as well as varieties of plants from around the world. The flora is displayed throughout 6 Phyto-geographical sections – Southern Africa, Europe, North America, Australia, South-East and Central Asia and the Mediterranean.
JBG provides an urban escape in the midst of a dynamic city. Our guided tours, gardening workshops, lectures, and volunteer opportunities for all ages aim to educate Jerusalem's distinctive communities about environmental awareness, sustainability and biodiversity. Many of these communities are referred to as being on the periphery of Israeli society, characterized by neighborhoods with teeming buildings and lacking green spaces.
As a microcosm of Jerusalem’s diverse life and representing Jerusalemites of every denominational, political and demographic stripe, the JBG stands to provide low-income families from different neighborhoods the opportunity to experience art and culture within the Gardens at an affordable rate. We stand by our mission to act as an outdoor research and education center, encouraging all ages and sectors of the city to interact with nature and learn about their surroundings.
- Outset Contemporary Art Fund
Established in 2003, Outset Contemporary Art Fund is the leading international, independent charity supporting innovative art projects that engage the widest possible audiences. With a presence in nine countries, including Israel. The charity has raised over £13 million worldwide in support of the creative ecosystem.
Outset Contemporary Art Fund is recognised for creating influential models of responsive arts philanthropy with its innovative public-private schemes and initiatives. Practicing catalytic philanthropy means not only offering crucial funding support but also activating networks and initiating new relationships and partnerships. The charity was the first to introduce a pioneering paradigm of cross-institution collective patronage to fund challenging artistic projects, and is now proud to operate on a global scale.
Outset Contemporary Art Fund is powered by inspiration, driven by expertise, renowned for its engagement, and focused on effective energy and ideas, with a commitment to being there at the outset of impactful change. The Israeli chapter of Outset Contemporary Art Fund was founded in 2008 to strengthen contemporary visual art production in Israel and abroad by supporting new commissions from established and emerging Israeli artists. Outset Contemporary Art Fund Israel seeks to engage international art professionals with the growing talent pool of local artists and encourage international artistic dialogue.
- Denver Botanic Gardens
Green inside and out, Denver Botanic Gardens was founded in 1951 and is considered one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Gardens has a robust living plant collection, natural history collection and art collection along with temporary art exhibitions. The Gardens is a dynamic, 24-acre urban oasis in the heart of the city, offering unforgettable opportunities to flourish with unique garden experiences for the whole family – as well as world-class exhibitions, education and plant conservation research programs. Additional sites extend this experience throughout the Front Range: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms is a 700-acre native plant refuge with an active farm in Jefferson County; Mount Goliath is a high-altitude trail and interpretive site on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. The Gardens also manages programming at Plains Conservation Center in Aurora.
- Eden Project
The Eden Project, an educational charity, connects us with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work towards a better future. Our visitor destination in Cornwall, UK, is nestled in a huge crater. Here, massive Biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serve as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events. Registered charity number 1093070 (The Eden Trust). Money raised supports our transformational projects and learning programmes.
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Renowned as the most beautiful garden in Africa – Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa is situated against the eastern slopes of the iconic Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch is the largest of a network of nine National Botanical Gardens administered by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the rich and diverse flora of southern Africa, and was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country's indigenous flora. The Kirstenbosch estate, covering 528 hectares, includes a cultivated Garden and nature reserve. The developed Garden (36 ha) displays collections of southern African plants including many rare and endangered species. Kirstenbosch lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another first for Kirstenbosch, it is the first botanic garden in the world to be included within a natural World Heritage Site.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point (HSP) Campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. The HSP Campus, one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
- Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Garden at Elm Bank is a horticultural jewel of Greater Boston. A place of beauty, contemplation and exploration, the garden welcomes all. A blend of historic and contemporary, like all gardens, Elm Bank is a work in progress. Through it, we seek to engage guests with the importance of plants, gardens and natural landscapes in their lives and help them to become active growers and gardeners themselves. As America’s first established horticultural society, we have been practicing horticulture ‘for the public good’ since 1829.
- Royal Botanical Gardens
Located at the head of Lake Ontario and within the municipalities of Burlington and Hamilton, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada and one of the nation's earliest nature sanctuaries. Comprising of 2,700 acres of protected wetlands, botanical collections, parkland and display gardens, and within easy access of millions of nature-starved urban citizens, RBG dedicates its expertise in horticulture, conservation, science and education to connect people, plants and place for the purpose of nurturing and preserving healthy growing life on our planet. RBG directs its efforts, and seeks the support of individuals and organizations, to realize its vision of a world in which everyone is awake to the beauty, diversity and necessity of plants, and from that consciousness more actively works together to protect and preserve plant species and habitats and, by extension, our planet.
- Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a national treasure of Scotland, the spectacular Living Collection is over 350 years old. The 'Botanics' in Edinburgh and our three Regional Gardens – Benmore in Argyllshire, Dawyck in the Scottish Borders and Logan in Dumfries and Galloway – constitute one of the richest plant collections on Earth. Faced with climate change, RBGE’s work plays an increasingly crucial role nationally and internationally, delivering vital plant science, conservation, education and engagement programmes, guided by a mission to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.
- Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is a centre of excellence for horticulture, science and nature-based learning programs in Melbourne, Australia. The organisation extends over two locations; the heritage Melbourne Gardens and award-winning Cranbourne Gardens, and is also home to the Melbourne Observatory and the National Herbarium of Victoria. The organisation is dedicated to the conservation, study and enjoyment of nature and both sites are an important resource for education, science and horticulture. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne site has been a significant meeting place for the peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation for time immemorial. It has been a treasured part of Melbourne’s cultural life for more than 175 years – much loved by generations of Victorians, as well as by many international visitors. It is a picturesque haven for recreation and well-being and its 38 hectares is home to a collection of more than 8,500 species of plants from around the world, including many amazing and diverse plant collections.
- San Diego Botanic Garden
Founded in 1970, San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) is a 37-acre garden that inspires people of all ages to connect with plants and nature. The Garden’s four miles of trails showcase 5,000 plant species and varieties, including 300 plants for which SDBG is the only garden maintaining a population. SDBG has 15 gardens representing different regions of the world, 12 demonstration gardens — including two edible gardens — and the largest public bamboo collection in North America. SDBG’s flagship, one-acre Hamilton Children’s Garden is the largest children’s garden on the west coast.
- Tucson Botanical Gardens
Located on the site of the historic Porter property, and celebrating over 40 years of living beauty, Tucson Botanical Gardens was recently named one of the top 10 North American Gardens worth traveling for by the Canadian Garden Council and the American Public Gardens Association. Among mature trees and expertly cultivated foliage, specialty gardens such as the Cactus & Succulent Garden, Barrio Garden and Herb Garden highlight the diversity of native plants while offering a lush oasis in the heart of Tucson, Arizona. Tropical butterflies from around the world are featured in the Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion from October to May each year. The Gardens offers year-round tours, community events, classes, art displays, and international exhibits, as well as the creative, seasonal menu of Edna’s Eatery café.
Browse through our diverse range of formal and informal education programmes for people of all ages and at all levels
Books at the Botanics
RBGE publishes a range of books inspired by the Garden's work and collections
Knowledge Exchange links the research community with others.
Searchable Resource Centres
View our selection of searchable resource centres.
Check our latest news and connect with our experts
Find the ideal venue for your corporate event
Find out how you can support our work at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.