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"The HTMLgardeness - Sowing HTML but Harvesting AI (London Plane Tree)", 2024, Excerpt of gif animation

BY & WITH URSULA ENDLICHER

I'm walking through nature like through a website, looking for possible links, obvious or hidden, trying to open them, to uncover further narratives, secrets, or messages. I do the same when walking through the city. There I am mostly looking for trees, trees with character, hoping to discover a potential "Easter Egg" (*) in its bark, wondering what might be revealed here?

This is where the HTMLgardeness comes in: she inhabits these special trees; their bark contains "portals" that offer access to the HTMLgardeness' AR world.

The HTMLgardeness

The HTMLgardeness - Sowing HTML but Harvesting AI is an Augmented Reality experience that uses trees as entry points and trigger. It is an animation series that reveals itself by scanning the bark of trees (="natural QR-Code") with an AR App / WebAR.

"The HTMLgardeness - Sowing HTML but Harvesting AI", 2023, On Governors Island ("Easter Eggs" on bark of Horse Chestnut and on Ginkgo revealed...)

NEWS! I have been working on a new WebAR called "bARk" (**) which lets one experience the latest augmented trees in Park Slope (around Thermostat, which started on May 24), and on Governors Island which will start on June 8 during "Nature as Magic!"

So get ready: The next round of walks is coming up!!! Join me on June 8, 2024 from 4-8:30PM at Swale, 11 Governors Island during the event Nature as Magic!

The HTMLgardeness returns to Governors Island to inhabit even more trees!

Nature as Magic, curated by Amanda McDonald Crowley / Public Art Action features artists working in video, sound, AI, installation exploring water, soil, nature, and magic! Artists include Jenny Marketou, Ursula Endlicher, and identity_runners with Katherine Liberovskaya and Marcia Bassett.

I will be giving two walks: At 5:30PM and at 6:30PM!

>> New tree locations, map - and WebAR via "bARk"!
You have to be on site at the tree, scanning its bark, to let the HTMLgardeness appear!


A little history of The HTMLgardeness

This piece started to take shape last fall on Governors Island, during an exhibition at Harvestworks (where I showed work that already included The HTMLgardeness, but in a more marginal role) and where I gave "Walks&Talks" through tree-related works.

The HTMLgardeness had its first official initiation in January at The Active Space. On that occasion, I performed the "map" of the current HTMLgardeness' tree locations - revealing the trees that she inhabits - while also offering tree-specific snacks and drinks to the audience.



A 10 min documentation of the performance from (a freezing cold) January 20, 2024 at the Active Space. (Performance was 21 min long in total)

While the "performative" map was presented just for that evening inside the gallery, the "real" piece remained - and remains - outside, on the streets, to visit anytime...

"Ursula Endlicher's AR performance environment reveals digital secrets hidden in the natural world beyond the gallery walls."

Excerpt of announcement for the event in Tussle Magazine.

(The trees that were featured in the performance in Bushwick will become available through "bARk" shortly! For now do use the previous AR app (***) still!



The HTMLgardeness has been sowing HTML but has to fend off AI generated harvest now!

Tapping into my own narratives about nature and technology, this work introduces the character of the HTMLGardeness - a character played by myself (which i often do in my work) - who is the "protector" of the Web (of previous versions? of open, transparent, and experimental, fictitious, new versions?). In this role she is sowing HTML trying to keep a decipherable, caring and distributed web growing but has to battle continuous AI generated fruit and seeds which take over her harvest...

The network of tree roots is a "natural" communication network that supports the exchange of beneficial nutrients between trees and shares information on how to fight off attackers and diseases, where else the network a visitor taps into via the "natural QR code" of the tree bark unfolds the networked world of the HTMLgardeness' Web in a playful way...

Event 1: Walks & Talks, Harvestworks, Governors Island

Walks&Talks as part of The Process October 2023.

Event 2: The Active Space

The unique event at The Active Space Gallery on Jan.20, 2024 featured photography, performance, sculpture, and sound art by yours truly, Sandra Hamburg, Caroline Voagen Nelson, and Testu Collective.
Curated by Laura Horne, Steven Pestana, and Sophia Sobers

Event 3: At Thermostat

Thanks everyone for coming out to Thermostat on May 24 for the AR walk around Park Slope! It was real fun walking the streets with you all, trying out my new WebAR, and sipping some ginkgo tea and oak coffee together...

COMING UP:Event 4: At Swale

Join me/us on Saturday, June 8, 4 - 8:30PM at Swale, 11 Governors Island, NY. This walk is part of "Nature as Magic", curated by Amanda McDonald Crowley and Public Art Action.
I will be giving two walks: At 5:30PM and at 6:30PM! >> New tree locations, map - and WebAR - at html.bark.garden! You have to be on site at the tree, scanning its bark, to let the HTMLgardeness appear!


Going forward

Stay tuned for new developments, and more events coming up in the fall...

* Easter Egg: referring to a secret feature placed inside a video game, website, or program.

** bARk: Very excited about having developed a new WebAR "bARk" for the HTMLgardeness! I have been working on this very handy web-based AR with the amazing Keiji Drysdale!
"bARk" can be accessed at html.bark.garden and is developed for smartphones and works by scanning the bark of the HTMLgardeness' trees on location! Go to the URL and you'll see her map! Both the trees in Park Slope around Thermostat and, upcoming, on Governors Island around Swale can be activated with the WebAR "bARk".

*** AR App: I used Overly App Apple iOS / Android earlier, as it is built upon a really great visual algorithm for recognizing image markers - bark on trees is not an easy recognizable trigger! But, I wanted a combine the project, the trees, and maps and the software! So the trees in Bushwick are still using Overly, soon to be moved to "bARk"!!