Formally trained as an architect, Depeña fuses art, design, architecture, and technology in his practice. “I like to extract myself from my process,” he explains. “Even when I’m working on paintings and drawings, I’ll incorporate technology, or computers, or something else that draws on top of what I’m doing.” This multidisciplinary approach comes to a head in The Moment (2016), a site-specific installation that was shown at Locust Projects this past spring. Comprised of a model of a suburban house sliced in half to reveal data networks and LEDs, the work represents the “fusion of blood and data”—the “moment” when the world of augmented reality opens up for the viewer. “I wanted the sculpture to feel like the theater set of what you’re about to embark on,” says Depeña.
To Depeña, the future of augmented reality looks promising, and the overwhelming popularity of Pokémon Go is already giving the field a wealth of exposure. Yet unlike Pokémon Go, where users of the app tend to remain glued to their screens, for his app, Depeña urges participants to “push outside” of themselves; to use this technology to discover the “nooks and crannies of the built environment.” Starting off as a tool, Lapse will eventually, he hopes, become disposable: “You can start to imagine your own world.”