Preserving The Art Of Black Lives Matter Using AR

A city-wide digital art show celebrates the street art of BLM.

Designers at the architecture and design firm GGLO have created an augmented reality art show aimed at paying homage to the eclectic lineup of street paintings created as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not only does the project serve to preserve these impactful works of art, but to enhance them as well using modern immersive technology.

Running now until August 23rd at the Seattle Design Festival in Seattle, Washington, the AR exhibition allows visitors to access virtual art inspired by original BLM street paintings which have since been taken down by the city, offering passer-by’s a chance to relive a piece of Seattle history. Unlike a conventional gallery, however, visitors will use their smartphone devices to access the show as they travel throughout the city in search of new art.

“We decided to look at the art that BLM brought about,” said Gargi Kadoo, one of the seven designers at GGLO responsible for the citywide gallery, while speaking to Crosscut. “The city kind of went in and destroyed [or] brought down a lot of this art. We’re celebrating art that is gone.”

Apparently, GGO had originally envisioned a physical installation in which artists would have each designed their own piece of a single structure before bringing it all together in-person. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, however, the team was forced to switch their show to a digital format. And thus the AR art show was born, offering the Seattle public a chance to explore the powerful messages of BLM while adhering to social distancing safety protocols.

“It’s sort of a different way to come together,” added Hannah Estrich, a fellow contributor on the project. “You can go out to the site, all see it together and be 6 feet apart. “You don’t ever have to have to be near each other while you’re looking at it.”

Examples include a digital representation of the “Right To Remain” poster by local artist Kreau at Westlack Park, 3D graffiti honoring Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd above the intersection of 23rd and Union in the Central District, and a sea of digital rain pouring over the Seattle skyline at Kerry Park and the José Rizal bridge. According to Kadoo, much of the art they have sourced was created anonymously, making it difficult to credit the original artists.

“We would like to credit these artists,” said Kadoo. “But at some point we also found that there was no way we could check them because a lot of these are anonymous. There was no way to track it.”

Those who find themselves near the Seattle Design Festival over the next two weeks can download the AMP’UP SEATTLE app to begin exploring the numerous digital artwork scattered throughout the city. The app is available on both iOS and Android, though as the time of this writing we were unable to locate the Android app on the Google Play Store.

A full map of all the available artwork can be found here.

Image Credit: GGO

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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