Art galleries with Augmented Reality are changing considerably, moving more and more towards the world of digitalisation, promoting a new contemporary way of experiencing and looking at art.
Art galleries are making room for the world of optical illusion and 360-degree augmented reality, experimenting with new ways of making and communicating art. AR adds new elements to the real world of art galleries and is a simpler and more mature technology because it manages not to distort the history and elements of that place, but instead adds more engaging ways of enjoying it and spreading its beauty.
New technologies, such as AR, have strengthened the relationship between artists and viewers, improving their ability to understand and evaluate the work of art despite the increase in distances and the relative division caused by the physical detachment that has affected this historical interval. This is precisely where Augmented Reality is making its appearance, a digital technology that is increasingly being used in the art world not only to provide the audience with new experiences, but also to find new ways of bringing art to the public, becoming more immersive and improving the experience inside galleries.
Augmented reality for art
If until now we thought of Augmented Reality as a tool used only and exclusively in the world of games, today it is increasingly expanding its horizons by positively affecting the world of art, adding elements of entertainment and surprise, thus increasing visitors’ engagement. AR offers the possibility of living original and highly personalized experiences.
Through the use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets and wearables, it is possible for visitors to see, in addition to physical artworks, additional virtual artworks in the surrounding space of the art galleries and museums. Such pieces of art can be visualized in their real size, can be moved and manipulated freely (zooming, rotating, etc…). Augmented reality is destined to be increasingly exploited in the art world, not only as an alternative to a physical exhibition, but also in support of it.
By the end of 2022, according to Gartner’s The Future of Immersive Experiences research, 70% of art galleries will have experimented with immersive technologies to make the visitor experience unique.
Augmented reality painting
With AR, even paintings come to life, acquiring three-dimensionality, becoming interactive with the user’s touch, transforming and moving, finally developing new surprises for the viewer with unseen and engaging virtual visual effects. Digital technology is opening up a new dimension of art and new ways of enjoying it, bringing the secrets of artistic language closer to an increasingly wide audience. Touching works of art, an action that is definitely not permitted in museums, has become the dominant experience of viewing paintings. It is indeed very common to find displays of varying sizes in museums and art galleries, however they often provide a very limited interactivity, that is also physically disconnected from the artwork itself.
AR glasses allow several works to be viewed at the same time and to move them freely through space. The use of AR in art galleries brings numerous advantages both in setting up an exhibition and in a museum, let’s explore the most relevant ones.
Create art galleries with augmented reality: what are the advantages?
The advantages, in addition to return on investment (ROI), are many: augmented reality allows younger generations such as Millennials & Generation Z to be involved, and offers the possibility of retargeting operations, that is, personalized ads that intercept users based on their online behavior, as well as the attention of the public, conveying a sense of freshness and innovation and thus increasing perceived value.
A cultural visit that is different, alternative and/or complementary to the traditional one, allowing the user to live a totally immersive experience and the art gallery to increase profits and earnings.
In addition, augmented reality allows for greater usability by reaching geographically dispersed audiences. It is an ideal tool where there is no possibility to visit a live art gallery.
All these different advantages allow the art gallery to attract an increasingly diverse audience, thus increasing engagement and interaction. Augmented reality is coming to generate a hybrid of dream and creation. An artist can decide to let us enter directly into his mind, into the way he perceives the world, involving us at 360 degrees.
Examples of art exhibitions in augmented reality:
Augmented reality in the form of multimedia storytelling is becoming increasingly popular. Art galleries are offering visitors special glasses or inviting them to download an app on their smartphones that allows them to see additional virtual content such as images, videos, 3D models and listen to audio files in real time while simultaneously observing what they see.
– In Italy, more precisely in Palermo. 30 young creatives, including artists, designers, architects and graphic designers, during a Public Imagination Workshop “Call for (AR)tist”, hosted by Palermo’s Gallery of Modern Art, adopted 20 works of street art scattered throughout Palermo’s historic center and based on them created new digital animations usable in augmented reality.
– The initiative launched by the Art Gallery of Ontario was also very successful. The Toronto gallery used digital technology to animate the paintings in its rooms. Thanks to the support of their electronic devices, visitors were able to interact directly with the subjects depicted in the paintings. For each painting, there was not only an explanation, but also a character who came to life telling stories to the visitors.
– Lisson Gallery, with exhibition spaces in London, New York and Shanghai, has launched an augmented reality app that allows you to view the works inside your home, an online exhibition by artist Rodney Graham. The effect of augmented reality comes close to the real thing and can be viewed and edited.
– The Looking Glass aims to transform some outdoor spaces into a large open-air museum, to be explored with your smartphone. To admire the works of art, all you have to do is download the appropriate app and place the device in front of the various QR codes scattered around the city. Once the simple operation has been completed, the seventeen works of art by KAWS, Olafur Eliasson, Tomás Saraceno and the winner of the Frieze Artist Award 2021, Precious Okoyomon, will magically appear in the urban space. A myriad of impalpable and ephemeral “sculptures” to be visualized thanks to technology.