26-08-2015

Refrakt, Augmented Reality in an app

Berlin, Germany,

Just think of going to a museum and playing a game with the paintings by the great masters of the past.



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Refrakt, Augmented Reality in an app Just think of going to a museum and playing a game with the paintings by the great masters of the past. A dream? No, it's an iPhone app: Refrakt, an Augmented Reality App created by Carla Streckwall and Alexander Govoni, Visual Communication students at the Fine Art Academy in Berlin.



What happens when two Visual Communication students at the Fine Art Academy in Berlin prepare their degree show for a whole year? Something that sums up the essence of our times, the continuous passing from reality to virtuality, with the specific intent of creating something new and personal – in an app.





Refrakt is an Augmented Reality App where the great masters of the past meet digital art in a truly unique way. The project “Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear” (the standard phrase that is written on American car and motorbike side mirrors and give an indication of the sense of strangeness provoked by the app) can be experienced at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin until the 17th September 2015.





Simply download the app, point the camera of your own smartphone at one of the 82 selected paintings and 3D installations will appear on the screen: interactive pieces of artwork and various visual perception experiments. The first impact on art lovers is that it is a contradiction, if not even heresy, yet all it does is increase the interaction of the viewers and users with the art exhibited, which is absolutely in line with our way of living “online” or using our tablets or smartphones at all times.  



With Refrakt, Carla Streckwall and Alexander Govoni have developed a visual experiment which goes much further than the mere union between reality and virtuality. Refrakt goes well beyond physical space frontiers because while scanning a real object the user can explore diverse realities, if not parallel universes. Universes also populated by less well-known artists who, with the app, can be approached in a playful way through works of art from the past giving them modern and added relevance. 
Let's hope we can try Refract out very soon in our museums too! For whom is in Berlin, on Friday 28 august, there is the Long Night of Museums, so you can visit the Gemäldegalerie also from 6pm to 2am and check out the Refrakt app.

Christiane Bürklein

Refrakt by Carla Streckwall and Alexander Govoni, www.refrakt.org
“Objects in Mirror are Closer than they Appear” from 15/6 to 17/9/2015
Location: Gemäldegalerie Berlin, Germany
Images: Courtesy of refrakt.org
Documentary video: video.refrakt.org 
Download app: download.refrakt.org 

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