An accompanying app for the artisan exhibition: Dystopia Utopia 2070. Allowing visitors to experience, through Augmented Reality, characters drawn from the the stories that inspired artworks in the exhibition. The app also allows interactivity with various elements in each artwork. Essentially the app offers a deeper engagement in the artwork, bringing to life characters, sights and sounds from the artists' visions of life in 2070.
The artisan gallery in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, had developed an exhibition to mark their 50 year anniversary. The idea of the exhibition was to have it's theme set 50 years in the future. To accomplish this they engaged with local writers to create stories that were set in 2070 and had either a dystopian or utopian theme. Artists were then engaged to create exhibits based on these stories. To further push the theme, the exhibition curator, Kevin Wilson, thought about how people might be interacting with galleries in the future. And as augmented reality (AR) has been an emerging trend, he sort to discover how he might be able to integrate it into the experience. He sought out our assistance in helping them make it happen.
The exhibition consisted of six different exhibits. With each one taking a unique form to interpret their associated works. Our job was to think about how you could reimagine the viewing experience of this kind of exhibit.
Our first job was to understand what the normal view experience was like and examine ways in which it could be heightened. We wanted to turn the process of understanding the artworks from one of reading a didactic (text on the wall) to one of immersion. Our work involves creating worlds that people can enter into and includes soundscapes and characters. We received a positive response to these initial concepts and began to create an initial structure. We spent time with the curator and the artists to determine the major themes in each work and ways in which they could be expressed through some form of narrative.
The solution involved the development of a custom built app that had a unique experience for each exhibit. It was essential that we created our own application as products on the market that help you develop augmented reality AR experiences are quite limited. And we wanted the flexibility to make a customised experience. We created unique glyphs (activation images) for each exhibit, which would allow the visitor to scan and activate the scene. Each world had its own unique soundscape, which allowed the viewer to mentally begin building context. They were presented with the ability to activate a curator character, which explained the work from a curatorial perspective. And a character from the world of the work itself, which was developed in conjunction with each of the artists. Along with this, specific interaction points on the works were visible, which allowed the visitor to listen to further information.
This project proved to be a great success. With visitors excited and engaged with the experience. It was further developed as it continued to tour to the Caloundra Regional Gallery. Which again saw great enthusiasm from the staff and visitors of older and younger age groups.