In the last few months, Brooklyn-based artist KAWS has unveiled a series of works available for view – and purchase – exclusively on your phone. Familiar typefaces and characters take new form through his partnership with augmented reality production studio, Acute Art. Originally framed as a different approach to KAWS’s well-known, large scale public installations, the 11 city exhibition “COMPANION (EXPANDED)” launched at the beginning of March, just as COVID-19 was starting to really lay into countries across the world. Downloading the Acute Art app enabled users to view the floating Companion outside major landmarks like The Louvre in Paris, Millennium Bridge in London, or Shibuya Crossing in Japan, but the launch of the new program’s public capacity was partially confounded by the progressing global health crisis.
Fortunately, the in-app purchases enabled small and large-scale options for collectors and image-makers alike, running everything from $6.99 USD for seven-day access to a 1.5-foot-tall AR sculpture, to the edition of 25 six-foot Companions for $10,000 USD. The latter have been rolled out as a means to test the strength of the AR market, in which collectors will be able to privately place or make public wherever they choose to “install” their work.
Since then, a few other KAWS features have been released through the Acute Art App. For a limited time you could download a free miniature version of “COMPANION (EXPANDED)” to play around with at home, though that’s not longer the case. You can play around with KAWS’s album artwork for the new Travis Scott and Kid Cudi release, which enables you to record a short video with the cover text over an audio clip of the track. For fans and collectors alike, this new territory means you can carry KAWS with you in your pocket at all times.