"Unexpected Growth," by Tamiko Thiel (with /p), is a geolocative, site specific augmented reality art installation commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It is premiering in the exhibition "Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, 1965–2018," from September 28, 2018 - April 14, 2019.

To experience it, download the „Unexpected Growth“ app to your own smartphone, go onto the Whitney Museum 6th floor terrace and look around the terrace in the display of this app. You will find yourself surrounded by a coral reef, as if the sea water levels have risen to inundate the entire Whitney Museum under water. Occasional waves seem to sweep the corals back and forth - they have become mobile, to better respond to changing climate conditions.

In nature, many corals are self-similar structures following simple, repetitive rules of growth, which can often be described as mathematical „Lindenmayer systems.“ Here, you can see that the corals are forming these Lindenmayer systems out of plastic waste. Is this our future, as plastic waste becomes more numerous than the fish in the sea?

Construction and use of smartphones is also a factor contributing to global climate change. As more and more visitors view the corals at the Whitney, their colors slowly bleach to white. Only after many hours of rest from the mediated human gaze will the corals regain their vibrant colors.

What’s New

Version 1.4

Version 1.4 is a bugfix release, resolving a stability issue. No new features were added.

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

Jane5984 ,

Beautiful and damning

Beautiful, colourful augmented reality underwater organisms are, on closer inspection, made of our discarded plastic. Go at different times to see the “coral” bleach out.

Closet0taku ,

Be aware...

...this application is useful only on the 6th floor of the Whitney museum; elsewhere it does nothing but maintain access to your location and camera.


Tamiko Thiel
92.9 MB

Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.



Age Rating
Rated 4+
© Tamiko Thiel and /p


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