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Contemporary art and augmented reality at the Dóra Maurer exhibition in London

The visitors of the Tate Modern could participate in a special guided tour set up by two Hungarian creative startups, ArtConscious and ARe, on the occasion of the Day of Hungarian Painting.

The Tate Modern in London welcomed visitors with a free Dóra Maurer exhibition through an entire year, which was of historic importance for the Hungarian art scene. For the Day of Hungarian Painting (October 18), two Hungarian creative startups, ArtConscious and ARe, teamed up to create a special project to honor the artist’s work and to present her paintings in an extraordinary manner, spiced up with augmented reality. 

Augmented reality and art – how? 

With the help of augmented reality (AR), ARe projects virtual elements to the physical environment (in this case, paintings, photos and other works of art) through a mobile application and thus offers a completely unique visual display and exciting user experience to those observing the artifact through the mobile app. 

The technology allows exhibition visitors to scan the given work of art using the ARe app on their mobile phones (just as if they were taking a photo of it) and to access additional related content that give life to a whole new world compared to the traditional exhibition environment. With the help of augmented reality, they can bring to life what has been static until then.

Art projects and augmented reality

In the projects of ArtConscious and ARe, it is mostly artifacts and design products that observers can meet and learn additional information about their origins and designers –in a playful manner, in the form of videos, articles and other exciting content. 

With the help of augmented reality, the ARe app can reach the exhibition participants’ stimulus-threshold, increase their engagement and their commitment to the artist and the topic playfully, while also helping them gain a deeper understanding of the artwork’s historic context and meaning.

The goal of the two startups is to strengthen the relationship between contemporary art and the digital technologies of the 21st century, as by joining forces, these fields could tell truly important and inspiring stories. 

In the framework of the project, those interested could participate in guided tours in small groups (of maximum 5 participants) in the Tate Modern. Following the guided tour, the augmented content remained accessible to the participants any time, freely and independently until the end of the exhibition. The interested audience included art fans, artists and gallery owners, too, as this new technology greatly facilitates storytelling about works of art. For the Dóra Maurer exhibition, ArtConscious created the educative content presented at the interactive tours, while ARe was in charge of augmented reality technology. In the course of the guided tours, art fans in London could learn about the history, unique features as well as historical and political context of Eastern European and Hungarian art in the 20th century firsthand. By scanning the works of Dóra Maurer, visitors could access videos, interviews as well as articles depicting the sixties, seventies and eighties immediately, thus helping them understand the exhibition and interpret the artworks showcased. 

ARe in London

The Tate Modern tours were just the first step of the AR experience: London’s Brick Lane known for its street art treasures will also come to life for users of augmented reality in the framework of the two startups’ latest London project. This can be primarily exciting to those interested in art and broader cultural trends, as it will present contemporary art trends reflecting on political, feminist and climate crises through street art. More information on this project will be available in the ARe app soon. 

The future of the art market, beyond the pandemic

The latest ARe development offers a solution to workers of cultural institutions and creative industries by reflecting on the pandemic. 

The aim of the development is to enable those interested to view the digital copy of the artifacts exhibited at galleries, museums or art fairs anywhere and anytime. Through the development, the digital and photorealistic versions of works of art come to life in 3D, facilitated by the technology of augmented reality.