Reality and a Little Extra

Some new exciting developments in my time working at the Waverly Community House have got me thinking about new expressions of art, especially those using technology. Earlier this week, the Belin Arts Scholarship named their recipient, author Margot Douaihy. The scholarship is given to an applicant who proposes an exceptional artistic project to complete with the money. Douaihy’s proposed project was a uniquely immersive poetry workshop run with virtual reality. When I first saw her proposal I immediately saw the merit: in my experience many people struggle with visualization and understanding written works, especially those as stylized as poems. Being able to experience these visualizations through VR would likely help non-readers understand and even find a taste for literature.

I then remembered recently seeing an article about artists using Augmented Reality with their works. Though art in itself can become immersive more readily than literature, I think there is some merit in using AR to breathe life into an otherwise still work. Artists like Ife Olowu have embraced technological advances by incorporating mobile phones into his latest series. The project called “Coloured Reality” features 8 paintings with embedded AR that activates through your phone camera. These works come to life under the camera, singing, moving, and even smoking with the help of technology. Positive responses to these works have been overflowing, opening up an entirely new avenue for presenting art in a shocking and immersive way. I think AR works would allow for an entirely new audience to step into the art world, and hopefully more innovative creators like Olowu and Douaihy are preparing to move the creative arts forward.

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