Web/Tech Feed

Graffiti in Augmented Reality

Shaday, from Colombia, paints a graffiti during a street festival in Lima October 30, 2010. More than 100 young artists from nine countries of South America are participating in the event "Meeting of Styles Peru 2010" to promote the potential of this urban art. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil (PERU - Tags: SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY) - GM1E6AV0YC801Graffiti accessable from Augmented Reality has intriguing possibilities ...  but will it still be "street art"?? Rupert Deans, CEO, Plattar, writes for Quartz on this subject:

In the 20th century, only the brave would make bold political or social statements in public places. Whether sprayed with an aersol can, wheatpasted with a bucket and a broom, or stencilled with a piece of cardboard, graffiti became the ultimate form of artistic anarchy. Despite being illegal, the art form became a mainstay of populated areas in major cities and an important part of the greater cultural conversation.

Today heavy policing has meant fewer tags, but that hasn’t stopped artists’ desires to make their mark. Luckily in the 21st century there are more ways to express yourself than ever—and augmented reality is one of them.

Augmented reality (AR) allows you to look at the environment around you through the lens of your smartphone and, via an app, reveal a new layer of information that appears to be located in the real world. Pokemon GO inserted capturable creatures on street corners. Facebook wants you to leave messages for your friends in bars. At their keynote event on Sep. 12, Apple revealed their new iPhones, which have advanced AR capabilities. In this way, AR turns physical sites into a blank canvas for the creation of new content. Which means that, soon, everyone could be a secret street artist.

Armed only with their phone and a virtual spray can, artists could soon leave hidden marks for others to find in the urban environment. Virtual graffiti would allow budding artists to be creative and push boundaries in the public domain without creating an eyesore, allowing local governments to clean up the actual streets of traditional graffiti while letting young artists have a creative outlet.

In the future, we could have virtual graffiti on every surface and art exhibits on every corner, available to anyone who chooses to search for it, but hidden to those who think it’s visual pollution. Some well-known street artists are already playing with this technology with their legal murals, and others are finding ways to use it to support social-justice causes. We’re even seeing this AR art in our museums: In late 2016, a digital sculpture was placed inside Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington state to demonstrate the potential of Microsoft Hololens. The virtual sculpture consisted of moving words and phrases, visible only to those wearing the headset. It’s only so long before a clandestine digital community stops asking permission to use public space in this way and takes this creative trend underground.

As with many other emerging technologies, the consequences and implications of this blurring of the real and fake world are complicated and unsettled. As AR increases in popularity, it’s coming up against established rules and societal expectations: If something only exists in virtual space, but it appears real to its creator, is it bound to the laws of the actual world.

Legal systems are yet to get a grip on new technology, and there is cultural confusion about the role of virtual items located in public places. As demonstrated by pro-LGBTQ Pokemon GO players trolling the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, the conversations and experiences that play out in the augmented world can have real-life consequences.

We will soon have to answer some complicated questions: Is graffiti still a crime if it only exists in the virtual world? If the message scrawled on the side of a building is only visible to those who wish to see it through their phones, is it still counted as defacing public property? Or does ownership carry over to the digital world?It’s too early to tell—but isn’t that the spirit of anarchy that graffiti artists wanted to capture in the first place?

REALLY Immerse Yourself in Art with Virtual Reality

Thanks to a new virtual reality project launched this week by the Google Cultural Institute, you can now immerse yourself in one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s most bizarre paintings and hang out with the peculiar creatures that cover its canvas. The project, which brings to life the Flemish master’s 1562 “The Fall of the Rebel Angels,” is viewable on YouTube but is best experienced on headsets such as a Google Cardboard mask. While the Institute has recently brought 360-degree videos of performances closer to audiences around the world, this marks the first time it has created a virtual reality experience for an artwork.

While the performance videos were a little underwhelming, this new video is actually pretty neat. It transports you directly to the artwork’s current home — the Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium, which worked in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute — where it pulls you into the image. As a narrator explains the scene, which shows the moment a gold armor-adorned St. Michael expels the devil from paradise, you’re surrounded by the flapping wings of angels transformed into demons, of butterflies, and of hybrid monsters, some possibly inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, as your guide mentions. Above you, a swarm of beasts appears to spiral from the white heavens; below lies a murky darkness just visible past the crowd of waving limbs, claws, and tails.


The experience is part of Bruegel: Unseen Masterpieces, a collaborative project between Google Cultural Institute and eight major international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, London’s Royal Collection Trust, and Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst. Over 200 of Bruegel’s paintings, drawn from the collections of these institutions, were digitized and published online, allowing anyone with an internet connection to explore them through extremely high resolution images accompanied by detailed annotations.

The art-meets-tech experience also has a physical component at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium, where visitors may engage with the Bruegels on view through more virtual reality and screen-based projects. The museum’s officials launched the collaboration with Google in anticipation of the 450th anniversary of the painter’s death, which will be in 2019.

This was reported on HyperAllergic.

Public Art Project Using FIle Shares

This is a very clever idea to help facilitate all types of sharing - including your artwork.

Over four years ago, Aram Bartholl installed his first USB drive in a brick wall in New York City. His public art project Dead Drops was designed to create an anonymous, offline file-sharing network in public spaces and see what happened.



If you’re curious as to what people are sharing on Dead Drops, Bartholl told PSFK that there’s a tremendous variety. While he always encourages artists to share their work, you’ll also find things like personal photo albums. “I really liked this downhill sledding video posted by a couple in Switzerland,” Bartholl recalls. “The personal stories and traces left by Dead Drops users are always the most interesting.”

Bartholl started this project during his residency at the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in Brooklyn and had no specific expectations for the the project. “I never expected so much attention back then and it was a huge surprise,” he admits. “The project has become popular from time to time in waves, especially after events like the Eric Snowden revelations when the topic of surveillance is top of mind for people.”




Shypocket - New Mobile Worldwide Artist Opinion Website

Weisler_sampleA new mobile website for artist opinion was quietly launched last week in Maine. The site, www.shypocket.com, invites professional artists to publish daily commentary on topics that are hot or top of mind for them. With an edgy look and simple interface, shypocket.com is designed to display bold and provocative insight on a real-time basis.

“The mobile platform is finicky, challenging, and oh so very cool,” said shypocket.com creator, Cara Fox. A longtime writer and creative director in the design communications field, Fox dreamed up her mobile forum while out west in Taos, NM. 

Artists are encouraged to contributed mini-essays in a more raw and everyday voice than they are accustomed to providing for galleries and artist statements. The mini-essays on shypocket.com are 90 words and supported by a single image.

Fox does not intend to make shypocket.com bigger that it is now, visually. The site is designed for the small, smartphone screen and for swiping and tapping. It can also be viewed on a tablet device, but it not accessible from a desktop computer. The goal is for the forum to be as dynamic and in motion as the artists who publish opinion on it.

Visit www.shypocket.com on a smartphone or tablet device. For more information, write [email protected].

Mobile Phone Photography

So many of us have highly sophisticated and expensive cameras but there is a lot you can do with a simple smartphone camera. In fact, it has spurred a movement. According to the Guardian, your mobile phone may be your best camera because you always have it with you. And the quality of the shots are pretty good. I love the spontaneity of the idea and am inclined to agree about its value.

And, as the Guardian says, there are so many great apps to make a dull photo fabulous:  

But, for many, the initial snap is just the start. It's the raw material for a new creative process. Most mobile phone cameras take very dull photos. But it doesn't matter, because there are hundreds of apps to help you turn them into something amazing. And that's what's really at the heart of it. Costing pennies, mobile photography apps give you the creative power of Photoshop, and more besides, without being tied to your desk. This makes mobile photography incredibly liberating for the creative photographic spirit. Suddenly, every free moment is an opportunity to both take and craft images. These apps have accelerated the creative process, as well as allowing you, quite simply, to be more creative, more of the time, for less money.



I say, snap away and just enjoy all the results however you decide to apply them!