So, will A(ugmented) R(eality) be that pervasive, that successful?

So, will A(ugmented) R(eality) be that pervasive, that successful?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This past week we kicked off in the Collaboratory a Spring workshop series on Augmented Reality in museums and galleries. Think a combined salon of ideas and maker sessions and you get some idea of what John Shipman, Director of the Art Gallery here on campus, and I hope will come of these five workshops. As it was our first meeting the opportunity loomed large to introduce ourselves and jump a bit into the AR for museums/galleries question(s) with a host of links to projects and perspectives that already exist in the museum world. It was a wonderful, stimulating, fun conversation and I, for one, look forward to the workshops in coming weeks. The focus of these workshops, I think, will shift from such a heavy emphasis on the discussion of the idea of AR in museums and galleries to striking a balance with making AR objects and trackables for actual use. We have a deadline, as many of us hope to include an AR project in the Maryland Day (April 27) visitor experience to the Meme exhibition in the Art Gallery! If you are interested in joining these workshops, please do not hesitate to be in touch with John Shipman ( jshipman@umd.edu ). If you'd like to be a part of the group's listserv but cannot make the workshops (see flyer here) please direct an e-mail to me (Quint) ( quint@umd.edu ).

So, you may be wondering about the image above. That is an avatar of James May, a host on BBC's Top Gear, serving as a sort of surrogate for the curator/docent in London's Science Museum. The pattern on which he stands is a trigger for his appearance on one's iPad, iPhone or android device/tablet while at the same time one can see in the picture frame the object about which he holds forth (the content being also triggered by the pattern). Here it is just a couple of feet, which gives a sense of his tiny scale. We had a good discussion about the obviousness of this type of AR intervention and wondered about just how gimmicky it is. My guess is that what works to engage an audience in the Science Museum of London, a recognizable media personality holding forth knowledgeably about artifacts of industry and with a bit of humour, will not work in an art museum or a gallery. That question is one of the many I hope this workshop will both raise and consider.

Oh, and while probably it will not end up as my contribution to the Art Gallery's What's in a Meme? exhibition, I have a goal for our next workshop to have an unimpressed Mckayla Maroney popping up all over the place!

(An actual meme, but wait until you see how I augment the online Sistine Chapel with this concept!)

Quint