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Art Enhanced With AR With AGO’s ReBlink Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario is aiming to combine modern technology with some of the gallery’s best-known portraits by using augmented reality (AR) to add modern day updates to historical paintings.

Art Galleries have been struggling to stay relevant in the modern day, with so many other ways in which people’s attention is divided. The ReBlink exhibit was created by Toronto-based digital artist Alex Mayhew and his team at Impossible Things, who created the app that Gallery visitors can use to view the paintings to see the additions that show what artists think the people in the portraits would be doing if they were alive today. In one example, The Marchesa Casati, one of AGO’s most famous portraits, when viewed using the AR app, shows her holding a selfie stick, as many young women do now.

“There is a real contradiction or dichotomy to this. There is an issue in museums of people walking past paintings and, when people stop, the average time is 15 seconds. With the Instagram generation, with mobile phones, that problem is getting worse and worse,” explains Mayhew, “We’re trying to get people to stop, pause, have a look, use the intervention of understanding the paintings that they may not otherwise have a connection with. But the irony of it all is that we’re using mobile phones and technology to facilitate that. We want to increase engagement levels through technology rather than making the situation worse.”

The ReBlink exhibit at the AGO began on July 6th and will run until 3rd December, 2017. Further information can be found at the AGO website.

VRFocus will bring you further information on new uses of VR and AR technology as it becomes available.