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Art alive

Augmented reality (AR) – adding a digital overlay to a real-world image – is giving artists and galleries opportunities to create more interactive artworks and exhibitions, providing more exciting experiences and reaching new audiences. But until AR headsets become widespread – and fashionable – will this remain a niche technology?
Imagine holding your mobile phone up in front of Pablo Picasso’s Woman with Green Hat and seeing the portrait transform into a photo of the muse who inspired the painting.
Or admiring one of Claude Monet’s many famous depictions of water lilies, only to see the image morph into video footage of the artist’s real flower garden in Giverny, the inspiration for this series of paintings.
It is how visitors to Vienna’s Albertina Museum can experience its current Monet to Picasso – The Batliner Collection exhibition.
AR is changing the art world, allowing artists to fuse physical art with digital content. New work is being created and existing work re-imagined.
“Trying to learn about art and its history can be intimidating because of its complexity,” says Codin Popescu, chief executive and founder of Artivive, the firm behind Albertina Museum’s AR experience.
“For our projects with museums, we decided to offer visitors additional information – sometimes in a playful way through an animation or by showing historical footage of the time.”
In February, Manchester Central Library hosted AR fine artists Scarlett Raven and Marc Marot who used AR to weave poetry, animation and music into an exhibition about World War One.
“Many of the oil paintings were quite vibrant, which gave them an uplifting feel at first glance, but as soon as the AR came to life I realised that the scenes before me were where past horrors had taken place,” says Fiona White, a visitor to the exhibition.
“The AR wasn’t just visual, there were voiceovers, music and storytelling that gave a whole history to the artwork that would otherwise go unknown.”
The tech has great educational potential, especially for the smartphone generation, believes Manon Slome, co-founder of No Longer Empty, a New York-based exhibitions curator.
“You are using a language and medium with which many more people are comfortable, and you don’t need an art history degree to apprehend the work,” she says.
In a current installation, which runs until 5 September in New York’s Times Square, the city’s Queens Museum collaborated with No Longer Empty and Times Square Arts to create Wake and Unmoored, a two-part AR installation aiming to educate the public about climate change.
Visitors are made to feel like they are under the ocean.

Source: BBC
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