iraq skyline

Everyone around the world can see Iraq's skyline in real time with augmented reality and a smartphone.
Submitted by

Project Location

Artists Involved

Mark Skwarek, Animesh Anand, Diyar Azad Omer, Wafa Bourkhis
Project Description


Iraq Skyline (IS) creates an augmented psychogeography experience, similar to the Situationist detournement. Using advanced augmented reality software, it is now possible to create a double wandering, between Baghdad and the viewer’s own neighborhood, anywhere in the world. The result is a double politics as well, uniting and separating viewpoints between cultures that may or may not be in geopolitical tension with each other.

Visually, Iraq Skyline allows people from around the world see the Iraqi sky and sunset as it happens in real time with augmented reality; the Baghdad image becomes overlaid and embedded in the local, neighborhood image of the viewer.

Iraq Skyline combines

the viewer's natural surroundings


the realtime Iraqi sky


augmented reality technology



Anyone in the world can see and hear the Baghdad skyline in a full 360 degrees as it happens, using only a smartphone with an augmented reality app. The work places the viewer in two simultaneous worlds. The viewer’s local landscape - houses, trees, streets, hills – and so forth remain unaltered: but the skyline is that of Baghdad.

As the sky of Baghdad changes, smartphone viewers around the world will witness this in real time; a life feed of the 360 degree sky over Baghdad will appear above and around the user. Two different geographic and political realities are imposed in real time; the Situationist dream of wandering, perhaps everywhere simultaneously, is fulfilled.

One goal of the project would be to have everyone around the world to watch the Iraqi sunset at the same time; locally, then, different peoples would be on at their local times around the clock.

The heavily charged subject matter of the realtime Iraqi landscape will be a jarring contrast with the viewer’s everyday environment. For most westerners the experience of a completely different culture in relation to their own will be fascinating and instructive. But of course the piece and its meaning is not limited to the west. All people from different cultures may experience the work in realtime

Project organization:

The project is organized simultaneously in New York City and Baghdad. Programming will be done in New York; hardware, webcam operations, and infrastructure will be completed in Baghdad. The webcam will be operable 24 hours a day for at least several month; we will seek further funding during this period to continue its operation, if Rhizome agrees to this. We also hope to establish webcams in other areas of geographic, political, or cultural interest around the world.

Extensions of the work: Augmented reality has the potential for incredibly powerful cross-cultural experiences. Eventually it should be possible to set up a network of webcams and viewers, all intersecting and interacting with each other, so that people might be able to see, speak, and hear each other as well, on a more intimate basis. This can only help create bridges across cultures, and as smartphones become less and less expensive, this technology will be available to increasing classes of people. Think of the Baghdad piece as a first but critical step in the development of this.

Our current team members are located in Tunisia, the United States, and Iraq; we hope to expand this database into real international participation.

This app will be free to the general public so please support us and you can see it soon!

Project Timeline and Budget

Budget = $2600

1. Mark Skwarek, 3d content creation, 2 weeks including testing = Free

2. Animesh Anand, [lead programmer], 1.5 months of programing = $850

3. Diyar Azad Omer, Tech work 2 weeks = $600

4. Internet connection subscription = $500 [covers at least 4 months of internet subscription]
rooftop view or Iraq, donated by Diyar.

5. 2 webcams = 20 x 2 = $50

6. 1 laptop = $500

Total = $2600

[Wafa Bourkhis will help organize behind the scenes in the Middle east = $2600]
About the Artist(s) Involved

Mark Skwarek

Mark Skwarek is an artist working to bridge the gap between virtual and physical world with augmented reality. His art explores the translation our everyday digital experience into the physical world using mobile augmented reality. He organized the augmented reality artist group manifest.AR and the arOCCUPYWALLSTREET movement. Skwarek’s practice is also largely based in art activism with emerging technologies. Skwarek earned his M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design's Digital Media Department. Reviews of his artwork and have appeared in the New York Times, Art in America, Boing Boing, WIRED, the Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, NPR, BBC, and Leonardo. Skwarek has exhibited in various venues, including: the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; ISEA; Dumbo Arts Festival, UCLA Digital Grad Gallery; the CyberArts Festival; the Sunshine International Art Museum, Beijing; and the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois. Upcoming shows include FACT in Liverpool England, Siggraph 2013, The 2013 Augmented World Expo, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Mark Skwarek

FACT / ART SENSE Commission -shown in Liverpool at FACT 2013.
Siggraph, Anaheim CA July 2013
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC August 2013

Devotion Gallery, March 2013
Manifest.AR @ BIC: Seeking San Joaquin Valley Building Imagination Center, Modesto CA
Wintermoot Mixed Reality Festival @ Fur Rondy in Anchorage, Alaska
ICA Denmark, Sept 2012
ICA Netherlands, June 2012
The Zero One Biennial. San Jose sept
Bucknell University, Sept 2012
Pt 2 [most likely sponsored by Thomas Cole Museum] "The King's Boat" MASTERS ON
MAIN STREET, Wall Street to Main Street, CATSKILL, NY May 2012
Cave Gallery Brooklyn, Collaboration, May 2012
together 2012, Boston MA 2012
"The King's Boat" MASTERS ON MAIN STREET, Wall Street to Main Street,
Wintermoot Augmented Reality Festival, Ancorage, Alaska. 2012
Island of the Bull, Wall BuildAR, LA Replay, UCLA DESMA Grad Art Gallery and
Sculpture Garden. 2012
Unseen Sculptures 2012, Sydney Australia 2012
Augmented Reality Activists, Activist Tech Demo Day, Eyebeam 2012
Eyebeam, Performace, alan sondheim : foofwa d'imobilite : azure carter :
chris diasparra : mark skwarek January 1-9, 2012
Eyebeam, Performace, alan sondheim : azure carter : mark skwarek
December 17, 2011
#arOCCUPYWALLSTREET , Devotion Gallery, Brooklyn, NY 2011
I Shall Please, Open Spaces, Digital Arts Weeks, Off Label Festival Exhibition, The
Art Of Placebo Victoria, Canada 2011
Dumbo Arts Festival 2011, Brooklyn NY 2011
Iraqi Memorial Exhibition, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Manhattan, NY
"Not There" Kasa Galeri ISEA 2011 Istanbul, Turkey 2011
Distributed Collectives, Little Berlin Philadelphia, PA, August 2011
Not Here The Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA, August 2011
Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, April, 2011
Boston Cyberarts Festival 2011 and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
Conservancy public commission in the Boston Greenway, MA, April 2011
gradually melt the sky, Devotion Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. April 28, 2011
Venice Biennial 2011 AR Intervention, 2011
Augmented Reality Festival, Alberta Alaska Febuary 30, 2011
UAVM HIGHLIGHTS shown by, December 2010
Bushwick Augmented Reality Intervention shown by NURTURE ART, Brooklyn NY,
November 2010
Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) through the Vitrual Public Art Project, Philadelphia PA,
November 2010
We AR in MoMA shown by Conflux Festival, Manhattan NY, August 2010
TEDx 2010 shown by Devotion Gallery, Pratt University, Brooklyn NY, November 2010
ISEA 2010 as part of the NYU Betaville project, Dortmund, Essen and Duisburg
Germany, August 2010
Spill >> Forward" show by Transnational Temps and MediaNoche, Manhattan NY,
July 2010.
Famous Accountants Brooklyn NY, August 2010
{S0NiK} Fest Bronx Culture Trolley, Bronx NY July 2010
BxmC show, NYU Polytech, Brooklyn NY, June 2010
Bushwick Open Studios Cabaret, Brooklyn NY, June 2010
Urbanity, in conjunction with Bushwick Open Studios, Brooklyn NY, June 2010
Intermedia Festival, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, April 23-25, 2010
Virtual Worlds show shown by, April 23-25, 2010
Technarte, Bilbao, Spain, April 15-16, 2010
Oasis Gallery, Virus Exhibition, Beijing, China 2009
ISEA 2009, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast Ireland 2009
Cambridge Arts Council, Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009, 09, Boston MA, April 2009
Sunshine International Art Museum, Inaugural Exhibition, Beijing China, Fall 2008
RISD Museum Show, Digital Media MFA, RI Spring 2008
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, shown in 3 Walled CAVE, IL Spring 2008
Soundscape 2007, Boston, MA 2007
Boston Cyber Arts Festival, Bell Gallery at the Brown Cave, Providence, RI 2007
Soundscape 2007, Boston, MA 2007
MFA Row, “Turn Me Off, Turn Me On” Providence, RI 2006
Solkofler Gallery, “Plug and Play” Providence, RI 2006
Pixelarations v2, Providence, RI 2005
Boston Cyberarts Festival, Bell Gallery and the Brown Cave, “Works from the Cave 2”,
Providence, RI 2005
Cave Gallery, “Intellectual Economy” Brooklyn, NY 2003
330 Art Space, “New Media Show”, Brooklyn, NY 2003
330 Art Space, “Memorial Group Show” Group Show, Brooklyn, NY 2002
E=mc2, “Kamikaze” Group Show, Brooklyn, NY 2002
Scene Gallery, “Exclamation Points, The Straights of Messenah” One Man Show, New York,
NY 2002
Soundscape 2001, Group Show, Boston, MA 2001
Baklar Gallery, Group Show, Boston, MA 2001
Massachusetts College of Art, All School Show, Boston, MA 2001
The Amasah Day House Gallery, One Man Show, East Haddam, CT 2000
Tower Gallery, Most Diverse Show II (4 man group show), Boston, MA 2000
Massachusetts College of Art, All School Show, Boston, MA 2000
Tower Gallery, Most Diverse Show I (3 man group show), Boston, MA 1999
John J. White Gallery, Cheshire Academy, One Man Show, Cheshire, CT 1998
Massachusetts College of Art, All School Show, Boston, MA 1998
Lyme Art Association, Group Show, Old Lyme, CT 1998
Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, All School Show, Old Lyme, CT 1997
Hartwick College, All School Show, Oneonta, NY 1997
Forman Gallery, One Man Show, Oneonta, NY 1997
Forman Gallery, One Man Show, Oneonta, NY 1996

Honors and Awards
Rockefeller Grant, for Betaville team [research project with NYU Polytech] 2009
IBM runner-up award, Boston Cyberarts Festival 2009
NYU Polytech, BXMC [Brooklyn Experimental Media Center] Researcher in Residence 2008-

Massachusetts College of Art, Russell P. Coleman Jr. Memorial Scholarship 2000
Massachusetts College of Art, All School Show Honorable Mention 2000
Massachusetts College of Art, Pearl Paint Award 1999
Lyme Academy of Fine Art, Summer All School Show Honorable Mention 1998
Massachusetts College of Art, 2Dimensional Art Award 1998
Massachusetts College of Art, All School Show Honorable Mention 1998
Hartwick College, 2 Dimensional Best of Show 1997
Mooreland Hill School, Art Award 1995
RISD, MFA from Digital Media Program, Providence, RI 2008
Pratt Institute, New York, NY 2003
School of Visual Arts, New York, NY 2003
Massachusetts College of Art, BFA in Painting, Boston, MA 1997-2001
New York Studio School, New York, NY summer 2001
Pont-Aven School of Art (RISD summer program), Pont-Aven, France summer 2000
Lyme Academy of Fine Art, Old Lyme, CT summer 1998, summer 1999
Hartwick College (Art Major), Oneonta, NY 1996-1997

Press [not current]
Public Arts Dialogue Fall, 2011
Style Wars, Street ARt: Augmented Reality Graffiti 2011
New York Post, Bushwick is on the uptick, 2011
Hacking Space and Time, Gene Becker, Apr 2011
BBC NPR The World, Smartphone Makes Korea DMZ Disappear, 2011
Boing Boing, Augmented Reality Korean Unification Project, David Pescovitz 2011
WASHINGTON POST, Augmented Reality Provides Glimpse At A United Korea 2011
The Hankyoreh [Korean News Paper] 2011
The New Digitally Driven Generation of Artists -- Emerging Tech -- Tech News World 2011
DITS Art Magazine 2011
Willamsburg Greenpoint interview 4 "GMS" @ Devotion Gallery 2011
Boston Globe “See aliens invade the Greenway — if you have the app” Mark Baard 2011
Augmented Reality: “the Parade to Hope” By Bruce Sterling April 2011
New York Times “Is That a Dagger I See on My iPhone?” EDUARDO PORTER 2010
New York Times , ARTS , “Art Gets Unmasked in the Palm of Your Hand” 2010
WNYC “This Week: Must-See Arts in the City” 2010
Loading: A new definition of art? in "the next great generation" Erin McHugh 2010
WIRED’s Beyond the Beyond “the leak in your home town” Bruce Sterling 2010
Read Write Web, “Are We Entering the Age of Augmented Trademark Infringement?”
World Trademark Review “International – Trademark owners beware: augmented reality
can pollute your brand” Adam Smith, July 07 2010
Games Alfresco Gonzo-Reality Thomas Kcarpenterm, 2010
Art In America, Tunneling, Sarah Schmerler 2011 “Famous Accountants Tunnel Deeper” Paul Cox, 2010
Art Review ”Tunneling” Curated by William Pappenheimer at FAMOUS ACCOUNTANTS”
James Kalm 2011
Hyper Allergic “Tunneling through Famous Accountants” Hrag Vartanian 2010
The Creators Project “Augmented Reality Augmenting The Art World” 2010
Checkmate, The Beaupre Blog "BP triggers dark side for augmented reality” Steve
Hodgdon, 2010 “Ad Busting and Android AR Competition” 2010
SWITCHED "Cutesy AR App Busts Up BP Logo, But Is It Harmless? We Say Yes” Matthew
Zuras 2010
TREEHUGGER "14 Apps Connecting You to the Gulf Oil Spill”
Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages, Brandon Schapekahm:
serious games, by Ana Boa-Ventura. May 2010.
Nickdutnik online, May 2010. time 4:00
MODERNIKA Magazine, by Jon Astorkiza, May 2010
Post Position, by Nick Montford
Art and New England magazine, Feature article on Children of Arcadia, in April 2009
Boston Phoenix review, April 2009
Video Interview by the Boston Globe, April 2009
The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, What to see at 2009 Cyberarts Fest, April
The Portland Pheonix, Keepin' it real . . . sort of, Virtual reality at the Boston Cyberarts
Festival, By EVAN J. GARZA. April 15, 2009
Artscope, featured Children of Arcadia in “email blast!” April 30th 2009, April 2009
Art Digital Magazine, April 2009
Enter the matrix, By Greg Cook, January 13, 2009
Networked Performance, [blog] retrieved October15 2008
Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory [blog],,
retrieved Sept 23 2008, critics pick,|medium_id=4
retrieved Sept 29 2008
The Boston Phoenix, State of the Art, RISD grads share their visions, by Greg Cook, May 28,
2008., , April
Block Magazine, “Intellectual Economy” attacks gallery system, The unrelated finds a home in
lights up the cave, E.A. Linden, Brooklyn, New York 2004
Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, The Creators Project, Manhattan NY 2011
Dorkbot NYC 2011
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Augmented Reality Check, Seeing the Future Now, 2011
HASTAC 2010: Grand Challenges and Global Innovations Conference, 2010
Texas Advanced Computing Center, SLACTIONS 2009 -- Research Conference in the
Second Life® WorldLife, Imagination, & Work using Metaverse Platforms, Austin Texas, 2009
Boston University, Navigating Cyberworlds: Creative Practice in Virtual Reality, Boston
Cyberarts Festival 2009. Panel Discussion
Technarte 2009 , Children of Arcadia presentation by Joseph Hocking, April 23rd & 24th of
2009, Bilbao, Spain.
Upgrade! Boston, February 2008, Boston MA.

Work Experience
NYU Polytechnic University, Adjunct Professor, Undergraduate Level, 3D Graphics levels 1-3
[Maya], Fall 2007-09 [current], Graduate 3d Studio Spring 2009, Fall 2010-11, Brooklyn, NY
New York City College of Technology, Department of Architectural Technology, Adjunct
Professor, Undergraduate Level, 3D Graphics AutoCAD 1, Fall 2008, 3D Graphics Maya Spring
2010, 3D Graphics 3d MAX for Architecture Spring 2009, Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn College, Adjunct Professor, Undergraduate Level, 3D Graphics [Maya] for artists, Fall
2008 [current], Brooklyn, NY
Represented by the Oasis Gallery in Beijing, China 2008-current
Rhode Island School of Design, Adjunct Professor, Graduate Level, 3D Modeling for Rapid
Proto Typing [Maya, Cinema 4D], Winter 2006, Providence, RI
Rhode Island School of Design, Teaching Assistant, Game Design, Fall 2005, Providence, RI
Rhode Island School of Design, Manager, 3D Rapid Proto Typing Machine, Spring 2006,
Providence, RI
New York University, Rapunzel Project,, 3D
Modeler, 2005, New York, NY
Wooden Mirror by Daniel Rozin, Fabricator, 2003-2004, New York, NY
Bitforms Gallery, Installer, 2002-2004, New York, NY
Cristinerose/Josee Bienvenu Gallery, Installer [part time], 2002-2004, New York, NY
White Box Gallery, Installer, 2001- 2002, New York, NY


Animesh Anand [lead programmer]

Education, MS in Computer Science from NYU Polytechnic Institute, 2013 Brooklyn NY.


Diyar Azad Omer

Sulaimaniya Iraq

Director, photographer, Camera man and Voice Executor
Five years experience working as program Director, Voice executor, Camera man and photographer with
different Press agencies like Radio Nawa, Iraq Radio FM, Sulaimaniya Satellite, Payam Satellite TV,
Baghdad Satellite, Nawroz Satellite, Iraq tomorrow newspaper, Ashti newspaper, Lebanon Music Nation,
Alyawm newspaper, Taw Photograph journal and Nawa Journal.


Alan Sondheim



Wafa Bourkhis -- Tunisia, Africa

Middle East contact / organizer
Artist(s) Work Samples


Baghdad Skyline - 2007

Despite the rapidly escalating violence in Iraq, daily stories of horror are often pushed to the back pages of the paper. Baghdad's Skyline is a grim reminder of the death and devastation the Iraqi people face on a daily basis in the wake of America’s misguided invasion. Baghdad Skyline transforms New York City into a war-torn battle ground that parallels Baghdad. The aim of this piece is to increase awareness of the daily violence faced by the Iraqi people.

During the work, plumes of smoke unfurl through the skyscrapers and trail across the panorama. The explosions causing the lingering smoke will be scaled to inflict a proportionate level of damage upon the city of Manhattan as in Baghdad. The explosions and trailing smoke are dictated by information parsed from the Internet related to violence in Iraq. One weeks worth of violence will overlay Manhattan in the projected image. The size of the included explosions will be scaled to match those taking place in Iraq. The project does its best to take into account the population densities as well population movement according to the time of day in both cities.

Mark Skwarek - Project
Joseph Hocking - Coder
Damon Baker - Adviser



Make Anything Anywhere with Augmented Reality!
creatAR is the world's easiest augmented reality creation software.
Anyone with a smartphone can create augmented reality wherever they want.
The world's ultimate tool for art, communication, and intervention.
Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can create whatever they want wherever they want simply by asking for it.

Mark Skwarek [project lead],
Animesh Anand [lead programmer],
Naomi Namba


The organizer + participant of #arOCCUPYWALLSTREET

This is the first organized global protest which took place during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Mark Skwarek


The Augmented Reality Korean Unification Project


The Augmented Reality Korean Unification Project unites North and South Korea with augmented reality [AR]. The project tries to heal the scars left by years of conflict in the Korean peninsula by removing the Korean Demilitarized Zone [DMZ] and returning it to its natural state before Korea was divided. The public may view Korea as a unified country as it once was. The Korean Unification Project removes weapons, checkpoints, fortifications, barriers, walls, and all reminders of the ongoing conflict from the Korean landscape.

Mark Skwarek
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