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Blog: Art

Paul Aston’s Pecha Kucha Layer Explains Augmented Reality… in Augmented Reality

Adriane Goetz March 8, 2011

Aston’s Pecha Kucha AR slides are situated along the famous Avenyn street in Gothenburg, Sweden.

If you’re not familiar with Pecha Kucha, it’s a kind of show-and-tell for grownups that began in Tokyo circa 2003 that facilitates learning and networking among creative types.

The phrase “Pecha Kucha” comes from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat,” which captures the event’s informal, fast-paced agenda in which speakers from various disciplines within the creative field (from architecture to graphic design to performance art) present 20 slides for 20 seconds each on a topic they feel passionate about.

Artist turned mobile developer Paul Aston (a Brit living in Sweden) created a Pecha Kucha layer in order to better illustrate his presentation on Augmented Reality at Pecha Kucha Gothenburg. The presentation layer displays Aston’s 20 slides floating along the side of the road, each with a corresponding 20-second audio file launched from within the layer. It begins with an introduction to Augmented Reality, then progresses into numerous examples and use cases, as well as his own inspiration (The book Spook Country by William Gibson), then ends with a confident prediction for the future of AR and a call-to-action for the listener to get involved.

The giant squid that inspired Aston to get into AR.

Encouraging non-developers to get into AR makes a lot of sense for Aston, considering his own recent transition from “non-techie” to Layar developer. Aston began by using the layer creation tool Hoppala, then immersed himself in tutorials until he felt more confident in his development skills.

The folks behind Pecha Kucha liked Aston’s presentation method so much that they asked to him to create a similar layer in the same location to explain Pecha Kucha to newcomers.

Currently the only way to view Aston’s presentation is from Gothenburg, but we’re twisting his arm to make it visible internationally!

Aston recently accepted our invitation to join the Layar Partner Network as a Pioneer and plans to create more awesome AR content for clients with his company Different Signal; you can contact him at paul@differentsignal.com for business inquiries.

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The Invisible Artist Layer Guides You Through London’s Art Museums

Adriane Goetz February 15, 2011

Perusing London’s wide array of art museums, a personal tour guide is the ultimate way to augment your experience; so when a charming British artist dandified in a variety of custom suits appears before you at each of London’s top museums offering commentary about its history and architecture as well as a list of exhibiting artists, you find his “presence” pleasant and helpful despite his disarming lack of flesh and bone. 

As you progress from museum to museum, however, you begin to question this “invisible artist’s” motives. 

Artist and Derby University professor John Goto came up with the concept for The Invisible Artist in a period of frustration after being dropped from a gallery’s books. Ruminating over the politics of the art world, where an artist’s visibility requires the approval of a small group of “gatekeepers,” Goto began sketching the headless figures that would eventually become the 3D models in his Invisible Artist layer.

The nature of Goto’s frustration fit perfectly with Augmented Reality’s open space platform because Goto could place his art at any location—or in this case, at any museum he desired, without permission, and anyone (with the Layar app, that is) could see it. The result was a subversive layer satirizing the bureaucracy and lack of diversity of London’s contemporary art scene (notice how the list of exhibiting artists contains the same few names at every museum).

While its derisive nature is clever, the “must-see” factor in this layer is its exquisite 3D modeling. Peering through your mobile phone at these life-sized figures, you can see the shadow behind every fold in the artist’s clothing, the texture of each material, and the soft glow of London’s cloudy sky gently reflected off of each garment.

The Invisible Artist is an excellent example of what can be achieved on the Layar platform with the right combination of skills in the artistic as well as the technical fields. In order to build this layer, Goto utilized his artistic talent to create the 3D models, then colleague Matthew Leach (from whom Goto first learned about Augmented Reality) used his development skills to set up a server, place the models, and program functionality to make for the best possible user experience.

The Invisible Artist is Goto and Leach’s second layer in their Augmented Reality repertoire; their first, West End Blues, explores the history and sounds of London’s jazz and blues musicians. The two have recently become Pioneers in the Layar Partner Network, and you can look forward to more groundbreaking AR content from them in the future.

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Andy Warhol museum releases Warhol Layar

Redactie October 14, 2010

Another great example of Layar being used by the art scene. Last week the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, USA, released the Warhol Layar.

The Warhol Layar enables you to view points of interest pivotal in Andy Warhol’s life and work. You’ll find locations in Pittsburgh and New York. The Warhol Layar also provides rare and premium content prepared by The Warhol’s education curators.

Layer: Warhol
Location: Pittsburgh & New York City
Required: iPhone or Android device
More info: warhol.org
Brunner Mobile

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Uninvited DIY exhibition at MoMA NYC

Redactie October 8, 2010

On Saturday October 9th, the physical space inside the MoMA building in New York will host a virtual exhibition, based on Augmented Reality technology. The show will not be visible to regular visitors of the MoMA, but those using the “Layar Augmented Reality browser” on their iPhone or Android smartphones, will see numerous additional works on each of the floors.

The experimental unofficial exhibition is part of the Conflux Festival, the annual New York festival dedicated to the psychogeography practice. With the exhibition, the organisers of the event aim to address a contemporary issue, caused by the rapid rise of Augmented Reality usage. What is the impact of AR on our public and private spaces? Is the distinction between the two fading, or are we approaching a situation with an increasing fragmentation of space and realities to be perceived individually?

The exhibition is organised by Sander Veenhof, augmented reality experimentalist from the Netherlands, and the New York based new media artist Mark Skwarek. Both artists share a common fascination for hybrid collaborations between virtual and physical entities.

Augmented reality artists worldwide were invited to showcase their work in the MoMA. Sander & Mark curated the exhibition. By the way, the MoMA is not involved in this yet. But that’s not a requirement anymore anno 2010, being independent and working in augmented reality.

Event: DIY Augmented Reality exhibition - MoMA, New York
Opening: 4PM October 9th 2010
Location: MoMA, NY - floors 1 to 6 + virtual floors 7 & 8 + garden
Required: iPhone or Android device
Developers:  Sander VeenhofMark Skwarek
More info about the festival: confluxfestival.org
About the exhibition:

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Amazing Augmented Reality Art in Layar

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald June 29, 2010

A project at the MediaLAB for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam resulted in some amazing art work in Augmented Reality. We said it before and we’ll say it again: you can create ANYTHING in Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is the biggest canvas you can work with. These artists know this already.

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