¿Dónde estoy? Street-based art installation provides an Alternate View on Capitol Hill

With the arrival of July, Seattle artist and photographer Kevin Wildermuth is turning Capitol Hill streets into a virtual art gallery. The art installation Alternate Views is aimed at pedestrians with a smart phone and a dose of curiosity, and offers juxtapositions of Capitol Hill viewpoints with related scenes photographed in Oxaca, Mexico. 

Thirty-one bright yellow QR-coded placards will be placed on poles and business windows in public, pedestrian-oriented areas around Capitol Hill. When the QR code on the placard is scanned, the phone will display a photograph of a related scene from Oaxaca, Mexico.  An artist talk about the project will occur Thursday, July 5th 6:30 – 7:30pm at the Capitol Hill Library. The codes are planned to be in place through August 15th.

Wildermuth offers a map of placard locations but if you feel adventurous you can just wander the Hill and look for the bright yellow cards on poles and in storefront windows. Most will be around East John, Broadway, Cal Anderson Park, E Pike, E Pine and E Union.  Given the number of Mexi-joints on the hill, we can see a good themed outing in the making. 

Each placard location viewpoint and its Oaxaca scene are paired to encourage the viewer to contemplate the relationship between the viewpoint surroundings and the related Oaxaca image. Are they paired because of common subject matter, composition, color, scale, or something else?

“My feeling is that art should be everywhere,” Wildermuth said. “I don’t like the idea of art being in a ghetto: galleries, museums, and other physical boxes ghettoizes art. Meaning, if you don’t want to be bothered by art, you don’t have to go into one of those places. People who think art isn’t for them will not enter the art ghetto. But art is for everyone. I want to bring art outside of the ghetto and into the places where people already are and provide a delightful experience.”

He is equally passionate about demonstrating how technology and QR codes can be used for creative purpose and not just brand marketing and consumerism.  “We have all seen QR codes on ads and posters but the technology can be used in many other creative ways.  Artists are just starting to explore its potential. “

provided by Kevin Wildermuth

The placards are scheduled to be up through mid-August, but given the enthusiasm for pole postering — and stripping — you might want to hit the QR art hunt early in the month.

Learn more about the Alternate Views project, including the related installation in the Fremont neighborhood, at the project website.

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One thought on “¿Dónde estoy? Street-based art installation provides an Alternate View on Capitol Hill

  1. I for one am happy to hear about another use for QR codes that is creating and interesting and totally unrelated to brand marketing and consumerism. I applaud Wildermuth for his ‘Alternate Views’!