In this pioneering augmented reality installation, an LCD monitor on top of a white pedestal is connected to a computer by a cable running into the pedestal. This LCD screen also carries a Polhemus magnetic motion tracking system that enables the computer to recognize its spatial position and orientation with great accuracy.
The viewer can pick up and hold this monitor in their hands, and its screen shows a virtual representation of the pedestal with a computer-generated image of a golden calf standing on top of it. By moving the monitor around the real pedestal the viewer can examine this golden calf from above, below and all sides. Thus the monitor functions as window that reveals a virtual animal, which augments and is situated within the real space.
The golden calf itself has a shiny mirror-like surface in which the viewer sees a reflection of the actual venue of the installation. This is a previously digitized photograph of the room that is being dynamically 'reflection-mapped' onto the calf's skin. Only the golden calf’s outer surfaces are modelled in the computer, so that if the viewer moves the monitor screen into the calf's body there are no interior surfaces to be seen, thereby further emphasizing the calf’s immateriality.
In this artwork, the body of an idolatrous object is no longer a corporeal thing but instead the immaterial subject of a mediated process of disclosure. When moving the monitor screen around the pedestal, the viewer performs what can be construed as a ceremonial dance around a technological pilaster that has the power to invoke the illusion of a tangible phantasm.