Virtual reality (VR) technology isn’t just great for playing videogames, it can also be a useful tool for artists seeking new ways to express themselves or for museums to expand their collections beyond the confines of their locations. Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) wants to use VR as a method not only to reach more people but to also preserve the art, as one piece called ‘Fatherhood’ will be destroyed by the end of the year.
SAMA is a contemporary eco-museum which has built a collection of nearly 300 artworks by artists from around the world. Its commissioned works aren’t found within four walls but out on the street for everyone to see and enjoy, on walls, pavements, meter covers; all with the consent of the local community. As such, a lot of SAMA’s artworks are fleeting: ‘around 70% have been removed, demolished or painted over,’ states a Kickstarter page.
A crowd-funding campaign has been started to save one of these, Fatherhood, a monumental mural created in 2015 by the Colombian artist Stinkfish. It’s going to be demolished due to renovations happening in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. SAMA has already begun the process of capturing and digitising Fatherhood using photogrammetry. 457 images have been taken using a mixture of drone and ground shots to fully reconstruct the work in 3D.
The Kickstarter aims to raise €5,000 EUR (£4,316 GBP) to turn Fatherhood into a fully realised VR experience. You’ll be able to stand at the base of the artwork as the museum’s curator discusses what it means to the community. A tour of Amsterdam will then take place, guided by the trusted guardian of the artwork.
“It is incredible to see how progress in XR technologies is enabling grassroots initiatives such as this street art ecomuseum to affordably reach the goal such as the first-ever street art VR catalogue online by a grassroots street art museum to promote marginalized neighbourhoods, whilst continually using street art as a tool to dialogue for inspirational and emancipatory goals,” said Dr. Gabriele Romagnoli, founder of GR Talk, XR coach and official advisor for the San Francisco AR/VR Association in a statement.
SAMA was founded in 2010 as a way to stimulate the local economy. As the museum continues to explore VR as a means of preservation VRFocus will keep you updated. Or why not take a look at experiences like Dreams of Dali, another good example of art and VR intertwining.