In recent years, augmented reality has increasingly helped to take art off museum walls and bring it (virtually) into people's homes and communities, offering new perspectives on classic pieces and modern creations alike.
On Tuesday, Apple announced [AR]T, a new project designed to offer interactive walks through major cities featuring the works of established contemporary artists. Working in partnership with New York's New Museum, seven artists participated in the experimental project, creating artwork that not only pops up on top of buildings and on the sidewalks, but changes the users' perception of reality.
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The hope of the team producing the project is that some of the immersive art might inspire viewers to interact with the art in new and previously undiscovered ways.
"The New Museum has always led at the intersection of art and tech and we could not have asked for a better partner in Apple to support the fantastic visions of these pioneering artists," said Lisa Phillips, the Toby Devan Lewis director for the New Museum, in a statement on Apple's website. "Augmented reality is a medium ripe for dynamic and visual storytelling that can extend an artist's practice beyond the studio or the gallery and into the urban fabric."
Among the AR pieces showcased, standouts include Pipilotti Rist's "International Liquid Finger Prayer," which features shimmering forms that bounce around the cityscape, inviting users to catch them. Also, "Through," by Carsten Höller, takes viewers into a portal where they see the world in front of them from a new perspective.
The app-based experience (available via the Apple Store app) also includes creative visions such as Sarah Rothberg's giant green foot, which blocks a city street as the viewer strolls by, and words scrawled across the sky and on the sidewalks created by John Giorni. Similarly, a colorful, moving figure designed by Nick Cave perches atop a building, reinventing the city skyline.
The AR artwork tour is currently available in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. Apple users in those cities can sign up for [AR]T through the aforementioned app, which also points users to local brick and mortar Apple Stores offering educational and hands-on sessions on art, design, music, and coding.
Some of the in-store programs, called "Today at Apple," will also include sessions on the basics of creating AR experiences in Swift Playgrounds.
"Today at Apple offers a window into the creative arts made possible by our products and customers," said Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of retail and people.
Other notable recent examples of major AR art projects have come from the likes of Saatchi, which allowed its users to visualize fine art on their walls before purchasing pieces, and the more fantastical program from the Museum of Modern Art, which gave art fans the opportunity to experience augmented versions of existing artwork.
Apple's latest foray into fine art is just the latest proof that AR is the art world's favorite new tool to engage the public and, more importantly, get people to view art through a new perspective.