Art Middle East Hosts Augmented Reality Tea Ceremony for Armory Week

We’ve already noted the dramatic increase in performance art at this year’s Armory Show, and though it won’t be taking place at the piers, Armory partners Art Middle East — along with pop-up gallery No Longer Empty and Chelsea’s Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery — will add to that programing with a new Augmented Reality performance piece based on the ancient tea ceremony by Canadian-Iranian artist Amir Baradaran.

The piece, titled “SamovAR & ‘The Tempest in the Teahouse’” (2012) and curated by Jovana Stokic, will be staged at 10 Downing Street in Greenwich Village on Saturday from 6-8pm. Baradaran’s piece will be a fusion of Augmented Reality technologies and performance simultaneously invoking the social function of the traditional tea ceremony while questioning the role of contemporary social media.

The latest in his FutARism series “brings together movement, chanted Persian poetry, 3-D graphic overlay, full body detection and fluid algorithms with public participation,” according to an announcement today by Art Middle East. For visitors experiencing Armory exhaustion, the interactive performance should provide a welcome and intimate respite from strolling through crowded fair aisles.

Baradaran’s previous work with Art Middle East in New York City, “Transient” in 2010, had short videos of cab-drivers’ gazes in rear-view mirrors streaming on taxi televisions.

— Benjamin Sutton