Christo’s London Mastaba sculpture floats again—on your mobile phone

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, still for The London Mastaba AR (Hyde Park), 2020. Courtesy of Acute Art

Christo’s gigantic floating sculpture The London Mastaba would have been hard to miss when it launched in 2018. This humongous piece, made from more than 7,500 horizontally stacked barrels, bobbed along on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, stopping carefree visitors in their tracks.

But if you did miss out on seeing Christo's temporary sculpture, fear not, as the gigantic public art work has been brought back to life in augmented reality. Visitors to Hyde Park can recreate (virtually) the monumental piece thanks to an AR initiative co-organised by the digital medium company Acute Art and Serpentine Galleries. “The London Mastaba AR (Hyde Park) (2020) will be an exact virtual replica of the physical sculpture installed in 2018. Accessible via the free Acute Art app, viewers will be able to explore a virtual version of the installation through their mobile phones when they visit the Serpentine Lake,” says an explanatory text.

Crucially, the AR project was planned before Christo’s death in May; this virtual memorial poignantly resurrects the last public work realised in the artist’s lifetime.