Noxious Sector Projects
312 S. Washington St.
Seattle WA 98104

Nathan Shafer

Non-Local: Cosmic Constant MRPG

In his 2007 novel Spook County, science fiction writer William Gibson describes a new form of art that exists in a virtual space layered on top of the world we already live in. In order to see the art, one needs a special pair of glasses designed to technologically reveal an entirely new world that would otherwise remain invisible. It's as though the electronic environment that already surrounds us -- whether cellphone signals or radio waves, satellite frequencies or magnetic radiation -- here becomes a new medium for artistic production, sculpted into digital form.

In 2013 Gibson's fiction has become our reality -- or more precisely augmented reality -- a real digital layer that sits on top of our geographic home. It's as though virtual reality has begun to creep into the world of the real, not content to only exist in the digital bunkers of server rooms and game consoles, insisting on telling the story of how technology grew legs of its own and now begins to walk among us.

One such project is that of Nathan Shafer, telling stories for a technological world by overlaying his vision on top of our own. Using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Shafer tells the story of technological evolution, and the ways it honors and betrays the cultural legacy of his native Alaska. Combining science fiction with traditional Haida and Dena'ina storytelling methods, Shafer has installed his work in the augmented ether of Seattle -- technological ghosts and virtual prophets of digital possibility. Tune in to hear the stories of Sunshine Mosquito, Cosmic Constant video game, and the Alaskan death metal band, Dumpster Ravens.

How it works: To access the stories, download the free smartphone app Layar and search for a geo-layer called "Non-Local" by Nathan Shafer. The application will direct you to the locations where virtual sculptures and audio have been positioned. You may need to adjust the "info" setting in the app to increase the search range. This will allow you to see installations at other locations around Seattle.