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A.R. INSTALLATIONS: Dakota Spirit Walks

A still detail from "Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk" at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, by Marlena Myles

Todd produced two permanent site-specific augmented-reality art installations in collaboration with Dakota digital and animation artist Marlena Myles in 2022 and 2023 that routinely bring visitors to tears.

"Dakota Spirit Walk" and "Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk" are permanent site-specific digital installations that use geolocation, audio, and 3D animation to guide users through a series of augmented-reality encounters overlaid upon Saint Paul's 27-acre Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and the magnificent 1,200-acre University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, respectively.

The encounters feature augmented-reality Dakota spirits — Grandmother Earth, thunder beings, water serpents, and Grandfather Stone, among others — who share history, mischief, warnings, and wisdom.

"Spirit Walk" was selected as the 2024 North American winner of the biannual International Award for Public Art by the Shanghai Institute for Public Art.

The projects are accessed using Todd's Revelo AR app, which is free in Google Play and Apple stores. You must download the app to experience the installations.

Revelo AR originated as a project of Todd's multimedia company Motionpoems, and was formerly known as MōMōVA: The Moving Museum of Virtual Art. "Dakota Spirit Walk" and "Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk" are the third and fourth in a series of AR/VR installations to feature in the Revelo AR app. The first was Todd's own virtual reality project, Chaos on the Green Line.

Todd served as founding executive and senior producer on these projects, bringing Myles together with the immersive team at Pixel Farm of Minneapolis, and supervising development of the work in close association with the Arboretum.

Augmented reality is the perfect tool for revealing Dakota significance

to our homelands through language, storytelling and art — ensuring

our stories continue to be heard and told in modernity.

— Marlena Myles

Todd is available on a consulting basis to bring projects like these to institutions anywhere.

Revelo AR was conceived by Todd in 2017 as "an app that thinks like an art lab.” It's basically a collaborative platform that pairs multidisciplinary artists with tech teams that can help them realize groundbreaking site-specific projects in augmented reality.

"Dakota Spirit Walk" launched officially at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary on the summer solstice, June 21, 2022.

"The Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk" had its official public launch at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on June 25th, 2023.

Both walks are permanently available by downloading Todd's Revelo AR app and following instructions. For best results, download the app before you arrive onsite.

"Dakota Sacred Hoop Walk" inspired the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to adopt a policy of offering perpetually free general admission to indigenous visitors, available anytime by reservation at 612-301-6775.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, one of USA Today's Top 10 Gardens in America, serves 334,000 visitors a year.

More about "Dakota Spirit Walk" in the voice of artist Marlena Myles:

And you can click here for a four-minute feature about the Dakota Spirit Hoop Walk on the local ABC affiliate WCCO News.

Institutions wishing to develop augmented reality work like this in their communities should contact Todd using the contact form at the bottom of this website's About page.

Revelo AR and "Dakota Spirit Walk" were made possible with support from The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council of the Minnesota State Arts Board, The National Endowment for the Arts, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The City of St Paul’s Cultural Star Program, The Lowertown Future Fund, The Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation, and The McKnight Foundation.

I created Revelo as a virtual ‘gallery' in which multidisciplinary artists can experiment with an expanded toolkit of immersive technologies they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. I'm grateful that Pixel Farm has embraced the concept so completely, lending their expertise and working side-by-side with artists like Marlena Myles. I'm grateful to Public Functionary's Tricia Heuring for bringing Marlena to my attention in the first place. And I'm grateful to the Arboretum's public art director, Wendy DePaolis, for her amazing work as co-producer.


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