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AGO's ReBlink exhibit combines augmented reality and classic paintings

AGO's ReBlink exhibit combines augmented reality and classic paintings
From CBC - January 3, 2018

Artist Alex Mayhew knows that people often snap photos using their smartphones at art galleriesbut he hopes that by incorporating an augmented reality app into the experience, visitors at the Art Gallery of Ontario will spend more time with paintings that sometimes go unnoticed.

"I wanted people to feel a connection by looking back at the past with a present-day lens," Mayhew said.

The exhibit,calledReBlink, uses a custom app for smartphones and tablets. Visitors download the app and use their device's camera to unlock Mayhew's modern twists on 10 historicworks of art that are a part of the AGO's permanent collection.

By looking at a piece through a smartphone, visitors see the painting's subjects come to life through augmented reality.

Mayhew saysit would make him sad to see visitors at the museum walk by a beautiful painting or only spend a few seconds observing it.

"We have such short attention spans," Mayhew said. "We know that Instagram and mobile devices are kind of part of the problem. We thought it could also be part of the solution."

Mayhew loves to see the reaction of visitors. While it's usually the younger generation whipping out their smartphones at museums, he especially enjoys when the older generation appreciates his remixes.

"I think there's an initial delight, because of the technology. Just having the painting come to life, it kind of seems like magic. And then they start noticing the elements that are different," Mayhew said.

'The technology really worked'

'Really popular'

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