2/14/18 3:19 PM

Snapchat, the famous photo editing app, has released a new feature that lets its users admire installations by the pop artist, Jeff Koons, scattered (albeit virtually) around the world by using augmented reality. Here’s how technology has revolutionised the way art is created. And how you use it, just through your smartphone screen.

Jeff Koons in AR with Snapchat Art

Snapchat is bringing pop art to all our smartphones and is launching a new feature (https://art.snapchat.com/) that lets you admire works of art when, in reality, they aren’t there. How? By using augmented reality. The CEO of the app, Evan Spiegel, has announced a new collaboration with the cult artist, Jeff Koons, famous for his stainless steel sculptures, which lets you see his works around the world just through your smartphone: the sculptures are not actually there, but by launching the app’s camera and using the World Lenses feature, you can suddenly see little dogs, rabbits and much more. Does it work everywhere? Not really: some of his most famous sculptures will appear in the Snapchat camera when a user is in a certain location, used as a reference point in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, France and Italy. Users must be about 300 metres from the target and have the latest version of the app on their smartphone.

Art in the time of Snapchat

Snapchat Art is focusing on the creative genius of Jeff Koons for its first steps into the world of augmented reality. But Snapchat is encouraging other artists to join in with the project to show their works of art in augmented reality on a smartphone or tablet when, in reality, they aren’t there. The aim of the CEO and founder of Snapchat is to create a real community to bring young people closer to art (in fact, the app is most popular among youngsters). Anyone who wants to join in can visit the special portal and register their works of art, which will then be “placed” virtually around the world waiting to be found. Snapchat users receive a notification when they are near a work of art (albeit virtually) and are guided towards it. Or they can find it on their own, like a treasure hunt, by using SnapMap.

Sounds and artistic animations with EyeJack

When connected to the app, you can see a work of art from those in the virtual art archive and explore it thanks to virtual reality. This is what EyeJack offers, breathing new life into works of art by enhancing them with special animations. You start with a static work of art – whether it’s a painting, sculpture or photograph – and look at it through the app; at this point, what you see on your smartphone screen comes to life and background music starts playing. “Sometimes”, explains the artist, Emily Joy Rabinowitz, who has joined the initiative, “the artist creates the original artwork, the animation and the music while other times different artists do the three things separately. I did my own music and animation”. Rabinowitz is not the only one to offer her creativity to this new kind of art, other artists like Rik Livingston, Tami Wood and the photographer, Bob Rufer, have got involved with virtual reality. EyeJack is available for free for iOS and Android.

“Augmented” art with Screencatcher

A drawing of a ship turns into a stormy sea. The sky? Passing clouds suddenly appear. And so on. This is what you can admire when looking at the works of art of the French artist, Justine Emard, through Screencatcher, an app created by the artist herself, which offers a new way of enjoying art by using augmented reality. By starting from a simple ink drawing, the works of art come to life on your smartphone screen: Emard displayed her drawings in an abandoned factory in Lyon, inviting visitors to install the app and point their smartphones at the works of art so they could see them come to life thanks to the most advanced AR technology.

The award-winning Hyperplanes of Simultaneity

Oil on canvas and digital technologies: he picked up his brush and paints, he drew a city with streets and skyscrapers and he made it real (almost) thanks to technology. This is Hyperplanes of Simultaneity, a project created by the Italian artist, Fabio Giampietro, who, by combining art and technology, gives the audience of his installations the chance to immerse themselves in artistic creations just by wearing a virtual reality headset: “I worked on the painting”, he explains, “as though it were a crossing to another world where the onlooker is not passive or motionless, but is inside and part of it”. Well-known in the field of visual arts, Giampietro won the Lumen Prize, the global award for digital art, in 2016 with his AR project.

Artistic Miami on your smartphone

“An augmented reality experience that takes you on a journey through Miami. By using your mobile phone and your camera, you will discover virtual art experiences hidden in the city”. This is the mission of Lapse, a project by the artist, Ivan Toth Depeña, who used technology to “create art everywhere”, thereby making it more accessible. Install the app on your smartphone and go for a stroll down the streets of Miami, Depeña’s hometown although he’s now moved to New York, to admire a simple wall turning into a work of sound, light and movement. Or a public park filling up with animated sculptures. Lapse uses augmented reality to allow locals and visitors to Miami to enjoy the city’s public works of art, encountering a different immersive experience for each specific site.