Seeing the Invisible
Seeing the Invisible is a free international exhibition of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology. This exciting and ambitious exhibition is presented for one year at 12 botanic gardens in six countries simultaneously with Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens as the exclusive Australian locations.
Addressing themes of nature, the environment and sustainability, and exploring the boundaries and connections between art, technology and nature, the exhibition features 13 immersive virtual works by established and emerging artists including Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, Sarah Meyohas, El Anatsui, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Timur Si-Qin and Australia’s Mel O’Callaghan.
The exhibition is accessible via smartphone and tablet through the Seeing the Invisible app in the App Store and Google Play, and it is best experienced with headphones.
Spend an hour or the day tracking down the augmented, interactive artworks and experience the Gardens as (virtual) galleries.
Seeing the Invisible was initiated by the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in partnership with Outset Contemporary Art Fund and is the first of its kind to be developed as a collaboration among botanic gardens.
Presented as part of the National Sustainable Living Festival 2022.
- Download the Seeing the Invisible app in the App Store or Google Play.
- Please note: the app may not work on older smartphones or tablets. Check your phone compatibility on the App Store or Google Play.
- A limited number of free devices are available for loan at the Visitor Centre – a credit card is required to secure the loan.
- The app is large (2GB) so we suggest downloading at home or connecting to Wi-Fi and allowing suitable time to download.
- Wi-Fi is only available at the Visitor Centre.
- A free phone charging station will be available from Monday 8 November.
- Ensure your phone is fully charged. A free charging station is available at the Visitor Centre.
- Use headphones for the best experience as most artworks include a soundscape.
- Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes and shoes – the entire exhibition is approximately a 2km circuit. You can choose to follow the route or not, see the whole exhibition in one go or on multiple visits.
- This is a great activity to do on overcast days. On sunny days you may want to wear a hat to help keep the sun off your phone screen when experiencing the exhibition.
- This is a GPS-based app which will identify your location in real time upon entering the Gardens. The app will present the Gardens map with the exhibition route and locations of the AR artworks around it. Therefore, the exhibition can only be experienced if you are physically located in Melbourne or Cranbourne Gardens.
- The app will require you to give permissions to access your device’s
- To view an artwork, simply follow the designated route and the app will automatically notify you once you physically reach the vicinity of an artwork. The app will then present simple instructions for pointing the device’s camera towards the ground to initiate the AR experience.
- An internet connection is required for the first few screens on the app, so please ensure you activate your roaming data on your device at this time. Once you have the map loaded you do not need to be connected to the internet.
The Burger Menu on the top-left of the App allows you to move between different sections of the app:
- The blue dot shows your location on the map
- The cone emanating from the blue dot shows which direction you are facing
- The green line is the suggested route – you can choose to follow the route or not, see the whole exhibition in one go or on multiple visits
- The numbers are artwork locations and the suggested order in which to view the exhibition
- The highlighted area around each artwork is the trigger area for establishing the artwork
- Make sure ‘your’ blue dot is on the dropped pin at the location of the artwork before you ‘Establish the artwork’
Please take note of the following important icons that appear at the bottom of the artwork screen:
Closes the AR artwork viewing screen and moves you back to the map. We recommend that you close each artwork as you finish the experience and leave the location.
This is the refresh button. If you are unhappy with how you have placed the artwork, you can ’re-establish the artwork’ in a more accurate manner.
Similar to an artist panel you may see in a conventional gallery. Press this icon to read information about the artwork and its artist.
You can take a “photo” of the AR artwork with the Gardens as its background, and share this photo on social media. #seeingtheinvisble #royalbotanicgardensvic
Follow the directions on the app or use this exhibition map. The Seeing the Invisible exhibition route is accessible – refer to the map for further guidance. Manual wheelchair users may require assistance. There are accessible ramps that will help you access the lawns with artworks.
Be sure to pay attention to your surroundings and take care of the health and safety of yourself and others on the paths and lawns. The tour includes a mixture of gradients and surfaces. For safety, please ensure you are on the lawns and not on the paths when you activate or ‘establish’ the artworks. As this is a working garden, please be mindful of vehicles. Please note that some sections of the route may need to close temporarily for periodic maintenance works.
Available only during Gardens opening hours.
Melbourne Gardens opening hours:
Daily, 7.30am – 5.30pm
Visitor Centre opening hours:
Daily, 9am – 5pm
Sat & Sun, 9.30am – 5pm
Need a break?
Receive 10% off your total bill at Jardin Tan, The Terrace and Seeing the Invisible merchandise at the Gardens Shops when you show the Seeing the Invisible app.
Need some help?
If you require technical or mobility assistance, please visit the Visitor Centre or call our Visitor Experience staff on (03) 9252 2429.
Tell us what you think
This is an ambitious new digital and artistic project for the Gardens. If you would like to share your thoughts about your Seeing the Invisible experience, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at email@example.com so that we can continue to devise new and exciting projects for the Gardens in the future.