Augmented reality is a live indirect view of a real world environment. The elements are supplemented by computer generated input with is sensed by sound, video, graphics or GPS information. It is related to a common idea called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is edited by a computer. Virtual Reality is a simulated replacement of the real world and can become interactive with the information about the surrounding real world. Imitated information about the environment and things can be overlaid on the real world.
MONA (Museum of old and New Art) is a gallery located in Hobart, Tasmania. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities as well as modern and contemporary art.
“We don’t have labels on the wall. We have the O. Use it to read about the art on display and to listen to interviews with the artists. It’s free. The O delivers information in a way that enhances the visitor’s experience of the gallery, facilitating access to engaging multimedia via a highly usable interface. It is the first system in the world designed to replace traditional artwork wall labels.” http://www.mona.net.au/theo/
This technology has been said to be the future for galleries and museums and MONA’s O is the first of its kind. It creates a unique experience for viewers and is considered a new art form in itself. O is an iOS App that runs on an iPod Touch and comes with a pair of headphones. When entering a space the device provides a list, with thumbnails, of objects ‘near’ you. The device allows you to save your experience and emails it you for you to browse back through the objects you had seen at the gallery. This technology is changing the way we view art and many other things, it has inspired other programs like this showing objects that aren’t really there.
‘Unseen Sculptures’ is another augmented reality art facility. Its most recent art show was staged at locations in and around the city of Port Macquarie. At these locations were digital virtual works; not seen by the naked eye and only visible by Smart phones with an app called ‘Layar Augmented Reality Browser’ which is free to download.
Unseen Sculptures is one of the first official exhibitions to properly grip the idea of augmented reality software on smartphones. This exhibition not only had Australian artists but Artists from around the world contributing to this exciting new way of viewing art.
Although this technology is said to be the way of the future, I can’t help but question if it is ruining some aspects of the viewing of Art? I believe this is a great way to further the traditional way of viewing art in a gallery or museum, but I also think that it needs to be something that is optional or only for certain exhibitions. I don’t think this is something that should replace art in galleries but instead be a new art form as the digital age extends its skills and knowledge. I think the technology is very cool and would love to try it out one time for myself to experience a world of art that is not really there. The art world is discovering these technologies and it is making for more and more artists in the art scene, this was once not considered an art and now it is seen as a new contemporary art form and it has taken the world and virtual world by surprise and viewers are impressed by this great new way of seeing art in a world that is turning digital in many aspects.
(photo: crystal coffin- The Virtual China Pavillion, Artists: Lilly & Honglei)