Reality (doesn't) Bite: AR vs VR
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Venue: Conference Center B

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection spans 11,000 years and we continuously seek new ways to connect our changing audiences with our primarily historic collections. Ordinarily cautious when the latest digital innovations come our way, the interpretation team jumped in with both feet this year to test the waters using Virtual and Augmented Reality. As a team our goal is to help visitors to look longer, looker deeper and look again at a work of art and we knew that our digital forays needed to achieve these outcomes. We tackled VR first as part of Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures after we were approached by the Canadian Film Centre’s digital media lab to create a virtual reality experience of one of the prayer beads in the exhibition. Not only did this virtual experience provide new ways of understanding the construction of the object for the curator and the conservator, the VR was instrumental adding a “wow” factor for visitors while helping them see and understand this miniature object in a way that they couldn't with their naked eye. A combination of guided looking from a facilitator helped unlock the “seeing” for visitors with quite surprising results. Following on from this success our augmented reality exhibition ReBlink was designed to help visitors consider the past through a contemporary lens. Developed in partnership with artist Alex Mayhew, ReBlink uses AR to give new meanings and perspectives to old paintings. Rather than focus on the delivery of facts and information the AR uses storytelling to entice the viewer to seeing with fresh eyes. In both instances the interpretation team realized how the magic of technology supported visitors in their own experiences of the art. This session will demonstrate that, when used in the right way, VR and AR can be useful tools in an interpretation toolkit.


Type of Session
Session Leader : Keri Ryan, Director, Learning and Interpretation, Art Gallery of Ontario