Projects: Yard Sale in the Sky

Art Alliance Austin presented artist Kristin Lucas’ Yard Sale in the Sky, a project that stages a virtual garage sale, borrowing from the structure and function its community-based counterpart. The installation, which took place on South Congress, developed in stages that invited the public at each step. Since the objects at this yard sale are not old treasures from the attic, but rather digitally rendered products of Augmented Reality (AG), the artist first sources ideas for virtual yard sale items, sending a call for proposals by Austin digital artists, game designers, and 3-D model makers.

Once virtual goods are created, New York-based artist Kristin Lucas invites Austin residents to the augmented reality yard sale. Shoppers can see the virtual yard sale items on their iPhones and Androids using a free phone app called Layar Augmented Reality. The app renders virtual items visible much like a lens: as the phone passes by each objects’ “physical location” – a programmed longitudinal/latitudinal location – the object shows up on the screen. As in a physical yard sale, visitors discover items as they wander through a physical space, and explore beyond the surface layer. However, in this sale the tchotchkes, furniture, and hidden garage-sale treasures, never fully materialize. The items for sale are virtual and are only ever visible through the use of our phones.

Once a bargain hunter finds an object they want – according to the artist, the objects are “priced to move!” – the customer purchases it from Lucas, who personally oversees the much like a homeowner would. In exchange for cold, hard cash, Lucas agrees to “relocate” the virtual object to a buyer’s home using geo-location technology.  Purchased objects then take up residence with their new owner. Once moved, items inhabit the space, and, like invited ghosts, are both there and not there in perpetuity.



Kristin Lucas is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist working in video, installation, performance, and electronic media. Her art practice responds to the uncanny overlaps of virtual and physical realities, and to the fast-changing mediascape that informs and reconfigures perception and identity. Her work has been presented internationally at museums, galleries, and festivals.