São Paulo Viral is an Augmented Reality project. I displayed 17 sculptures along Paulista Avenue. These sculptures were created in 2013 by a generative algorithm. They resemble viruses or small organisms.

São Paulo Viral
app can be downloaded free
Virus1 Near Masp

Art is a virus
17 sculptures, that resemble viruses invade Paulista Avenue. They do not cause any harm. They are works of Augmented Reality created by artist Leonel Moura with the implementation of IT people.
These “viruses” are artificial sculptures symbolizing the relevance of Paulista Avenue as a center of Brazilian culture. In this pioneer exhibition, the city becomes the great canvas of artistic expression.

In a time of terrible effects of pandemic art and culture remains a fundamental endeavor of humanity. We will prevail.

The creative process of the virus
Start with a 3D sphere mesh and let a mix of algorithms work on it freely. The initial shape goes through a set of unexpected and radical changes. Holes and spikes appear, deformations occur. At a given moment, driven by a sense of rightness, stop the process and send the model to a 3D printing machine. A while after you have an original sculpture.

The essential of this work is done by machines. Your role is to start and finish the process. It may seem very important, depicted as the inspired touch, the moment of “true” creation, but in fact, it can easily be automated. We can imagine a chain of machines creating and printing continuously original sculptures without human intervention.

Why is this interesting?
Artists have always used machines. A sharp stone in the hands of the Paleolithic man was a machine to engrave visions and launch the primordial abstract thought. The camera obscura was a machine that helped Renaissance artists to enhance realism and optical effects in their paintings. Photography, cinema, video, and computers are machines that expand perception and create new realities. Today we have machines that are more than just tools. Machines that can be creative on their own. Machines that generate novelty.

My work, with machines and robots, is an announcement of the future. The process is underway and unavoidable. It is prompted by need and imagination. We are starting to share the planet with artificial species that are endowed with autonomy, intelligence, creativity, and, soon, consciousness. The association between man and machine is – and will keep on being for a long while –, of a symbiotic kind. Both entities have much to gain from the cooperation and, actually, once initiated, it becomes unbearable to function without it. We can’t any more live without a cell phone or a computer.

This symbiotic relationship liberates man from archaic tasks. Machines do things better and have multitasking skills, which are very limited in humans. More important, to recognize the machine creativity puts an end to human centrality and its putative exclusiveness in what originality is concerned.

Art is a cultural concept. As such, it did change over time and will keep on doing so. A century ago, abstract art was not yet recognized. Soon we may accept machine and robot production as original art forms.