How Augmented Reality Has Been Used in Arts And Culture

What happens when the two worlds collide? There was singularity to art, we have plenty of examples from ancient civilizations that can substantiate this fact.

With the advent of digitalization, art could be reproduced, distributed and consumed by people on an intimate level. This reproduction added value to the existing artworks as it contributed to the formation of culture.

John Berger in his BBC series, ‘Ways of Seeing’ talks about how the plurality of meaning associated with art changed as it started being digitized and hence reproduced. This essay was published in 1972 and Forty Six years later a lot has certainly changed. Digital art is a full-fledged thriving industry as well as a discipline in the scholarly world.

Art is an imitation of society, right?

Some would find this statement debatable, but we can keep this debate for another time. Coming back to art reflecting upon society, art comes from a deep and critical understanding of society and artists have played an instrumental role in shaping our worlds.

As we have come to realize, the world around us is highly dominated by technology. In a recent study, conducted by The Indian Express, stated that “With a rise in smartphone ownership globally, China will have highest number of smartphone users, 1.3 billion, in 2018, followed by India with 530 million users.

Five Hundred and Thirty million users in India have direct access to technology on the tip of their fingers, that is an outrageous number and it is foreseen to certainly increase with time. If you are not overwhelmed with digital revolution than you might want to look up from your phone screens to pause and reflect. Augmented Reality is the most talked about development in the digital realm today, it bridges the gap between what is real and digital, and as the name suggests Augments our ‘real’ worldview by enhancing it.

So, what happens when art and the digital world collide?

We witness a more enhanced and dynamic medium of creative expression that is integrated within the world around us. I believe it’s an appropriate time to use and imbibe technology in its fullest potential and certainly view technology as a blessing and not an evil. It is empowering and enabling humans to live a more nuanced and an evolved version of our current selves. In other words, when Art and Augmented Reality collide, Augmented Reality becomes a new form of a paintbrush with which artists paint their canvases.

The galleries in the 21st century are not restricted to tangible galleries anymore, where one physically goes to a curated exhibition. All our social media platforms have substituted for galleries and subconsciously so, everything is curated, therefore the reach of digital art is unprecedented. Artists have found solace in the digital world that is enabling them to explore reinvigorated mediums of creative expression at the same time, offers a radical approach to artists in an unparalleled manner. Numerous galleries are curating exhibitions that are offering such experiences across the world, and audiences are nothing but simply awe-struck.

It is indeed remarkable, because as a society, we have reached a level of intellectual maturity when it comes to our interaction with not only technology but also art, as both are easily accessible to all now.

Observing this trend, we at WOWSOME have also strategized and developed on mediums such as WOW Art, Interactive print for music album covers, movie posters and are currently working on various experiential marketing products that are specially tailor made for music festivals. Several industries are enthralled by this technology and are borrowing its usages to enhance their art, productivity or businesses. Similarly, there are several examples around the world, where the art world has integrated with the digital knowledge system.

I shall list out a few creative and unique ways in which artists have integrated Augmented Reality as a tool to tell their stories.

Photography is a relatively new age artform

The journey from analogue cameras to DSLR’s is around two hundred years only. This medium has also collaborated and experimented with augmented reality to create a unique visual experience. Photographer Nuno Serrao from Portugal curated a photography exhibition called The Project Paperclip. The exhibition used augmented reality to form soundscapes that correspond with the photographs displayed in the exhibition.

The algorithm is designed keeping variables such as, time of the day, level of noise in the room, voice, movement of the user, in mind. Hence, the audience leaves with an intimate experiences that touches some part of their psyche as all their senses are involved in this activity.

John Mayer

The American singer songwriter known for blue’s and acoustic guitar sets, also dived into the space of Augmented Reality. He came out with an augmented reality music video that enabled the viewer to place themselves in the video. How it worked was, while Mayer was singing songs about heartbreak and betrayal you could place yourself as an extra in the background (as if the heartbreaks weren’t enough). One could experience this new age phenomena by holding an augmented reality poster in front of their webcam and picture themselves in the music video.

Priya Shakti project

It was a fusion of augmented reality and comic books with a social agenda. The artworks were displayed in an Augmented Reality exhibition where one could interact with art like never before. Priya Shakti’s character was that of a rape survivor who is actively engaged in shattering taboos around the issues of violence and discrimination against women. The exhibition received a phenomenal response, as people noticed this new found medium to be highly impressive. As a result of this immersive experience, Priya’s Mirror was made as part of the comic book series. In this case, art and technology came together to narrate stories of courage which were enhanced by the Augmented Reality experience.

We could all agree that when technology and art meet a new form of culture is created, which is victorious in keeping the audience intrigued to say the least. Augmented Reality has certainly played an instrumental in creative expression and the more artists get to know and explore this medium the better for us as art enthusiasts.

We at WOWSOME are always looking out to collaborate with artists, so if you have an idea and want to make it WOWSOME, reach out to us at, till then let’s make digital art and not war!

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