Yard Sale in the Sky is an art project that borrows from the structure and function of a community yard sale. Ideas for "virtual" yard sale items are proposed and brought to life as 3D models by local digital artists and designers. The objects at this yard sale are not from the attic and basement, but are the digitally rendered products of Augmented Reality (AG). Using a free phone app called Layars, shoppers can see the virtual yard sale items on their iPhones, iPads, and Androids when passing through each object's programmed longitudinal/latitudinal location. Cats, chairs, surveillance cameras, charms with special powers, etc. seem to float in mid-air thanks to geolocation technology!
Once a bargain hunter finds an object he or she wants - and, according to the artist, the objects are "priced to move!", the customer purchases it directly from Lucas and yard sale attendants who oversee the event much like a neighborhood yard sale is monitored by homeowners. In exchange for cold, hard cash, Lucas agrees to relocate the virtual object to a buyer's exact location. These objects, like invited phantasms, then take up residence with their new owner. Part scavenger hunt, part collaborative enterprise, Lucas's investigation of traditional commercial exchange using virtual objects is an event that is at once familiar and foreign. It is grounded in a collective experience of the yard sale, but floats in and out of sight via a technological sensory organ, the phone.
The first iteration of Yard Sale in the Sky appeared on the elevated platform of Chelsea's High Line Park in New York on May 14, 2011, programmed as an off-site event for "Gradually Melt the Sky", an the augmented reality group exhibition at Devotion Gallery in Brooklyn. Participating artists included Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty, Eteam, Sue Havens, Joe McKay, Alisdair MacRae, Robert de Saint Phalle, and Penelope Umbrico.
With support from Art Alliance Austin and Fusebox Festival, Yard Sale in the Sky expanded into a two-day event that took place over the weekend of April 28 & 29, 2012 in the Parking lot of Jo's Coffee in Austin, TX. Participating artists and designers included Melanie Clemmons, Stephen H Fishman, Zak Loyd, Saul Jerome E San Juan, and Casey Smith. Yard Sale in the Sky is an augmented reality art project that borrows from the structure and function of a community yard sale.