AR-t belongs to everybody

Unity AR experience

We’re big fans of Augmented Reality (AR) here at Fusion. Seeing the physical world become enhanced through a digital experience, whether that be from catching Pokemon, solving puzzles, or navigating to your favourite cafe inspires us to find new ways to create experiences. We're also keen followers of Inside AR, one of the best places to find new innovations and methods of working with AR.

While great leaps have been made in the VR space, putting on a cumbersome headset means the user is isolated within that environment. Others are only able to see the user interacting with the VR experience from the outside, without being included.

In contrast, someone using AR on a smartphone can interact with friends behind or in front of it, meaning the experience is shared with everyone. It’s this sense of inclusivity that we love about AR technology.

Unity is the major theme (and the name of) a new AR art piece by artist Richard Payne in conjunction with Melbourne based urban design firm Taylors, located on the front lawn of the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Visitors can view the installation by downloading the AuraVista AR app on their phone. Built on the Unity 3D game engine, the app allows users to view the art piece, listen to the accompanying soundtrack by Probir Dutt, and take photographs of the piece.

The artwork and the soundtrack change as the visitor moves about the space - encouraging exploration of the area and interaction with the installation

Speaking with Richard Cirillo, Taylors' Managing Director, the installation was designed to engage the community with the space.

“We chose the lawn at the Art Centre because it was an open community area, with enough space to put something at this scale.” he said.

richard cirillo

We hope that people experience it as a shared experience. That they feel a connection to the physical space around them and see the opportunity to use this technology to feel MORE connected to the community around them, rather than disconnected

Richard Cirillo

Artist Richard Payne saw the piece as the opportunity to provide united experience of technology, the space and the people who view it.

“Art in its traditional forms has always been something to look at. Augmented reality offers the tantalising opportunity of the viewer becoming totally immersed and part of the entire experience.” he said.

richard cirillo

This piece is about discovering connections and the beauty of the other and realising that harmonies are more powerful that just one viewpoint alone. Because it’s so immersive each individual takes their own culture and philosophies into Unity, and everyone will experience it differently - as they step into Unity, they become part of the expression.

Richard Payne

Being outside and free, the installation is accessible for all visitors to the centre, fostering a unique sense of community around the piece, similar to installations in other public spaces.

The difference here is that this installation is entirely digital - allowing visitors to feel the vibrancy and energy of the piece by experiencing it and manipulating it themselves.

“Augmented Reality is the single most powerful way to digest digital data in relation to the world around us.” said Mr Cirilio, and we agree. At Fusion, we’re working on AR experiences for a few of our clients, exploring how to enhance customer relationships with immersive information, products and education.

Our R&D projects using AR have proved that even the simplest objects trigger delight in viewers

For us, AR is a space to experiment with - feedback on AR experiences is instant, and people love to explore how and what they can do with the experiences that have been built.

AR is a great way to show that there are many different ways to view a product or piece of information. This is the broad theme of the unity piece, according to Mr Payne: “Hopefully the viewer takes away the realisation that each individual viewpoint, is only one lens, that other lenses are just as magnificent, although they are different, but to encourage them to look for the beauty of other people’s points of view – and other cultures.”

Serbian artist Marian Abramovic said that "Art must be life - it must belong to everybody". With AR experiences like this, art can be presented in a manner congrous with 21st century life, while impacting everybody it comes into contact with.

The Unity artwork is viewable at the Fringe Festival from the 12th - 29th of September 2019. Download the AuraVista AR app for Android or iOS to experience the art piece.

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