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Activated Artwalk at the Ballarat Winter Festival Utilises AR to Make History Come Alive

Ballarat Winter Festival visitors will get the opportunity to take a glimpse at the heritage venues and lanes of the Australian city. They can discover the unseen history of Ballarat, charge up their mobile devices, and get a closer view of life in the city.

Six large-sized mural installations, placed across Ballarat, reveal the hidden facets of the city’s rich history with the help of augmented reality (AR) animation.

Seize the Day, a mural by Samantha Thompson at Police Lane speaks about the history of this venue. It features brightly painted birds, skulls and additional animations that override the natural artwork colours, when observed with the Eye Jack application.

Samantha Thompson with her augmented reality mural Seize the Day in Police Lane. Picture: Michelle Smith

Thompson spoke about the development, explaining that her design aims to highlight the past reality of Police Lane, which was a morgue cart lane mainly used for transporting dead bodies to the police station.

According to Thompson, thinking about the final journeys of people after death made her quite sentimental about the briefness of life. It influenced her to play around with the skulls and include kid-friendly animations in the design.

Thompson says that just walking past the artpiece will make it seem like any traditional artwork. Observing it with a phone opens up a separate dimension for the viewers.

As Thompson was new to the concept of utilising artwork animation, she had to make the effort to gain the skills needed for being included in the Activated Art Walk.

Her artwork at Police Lane is one of six in the city, with the other ones placed at McKenzie St, Queen Alexandra Bandstand, Grenville St, Titanic Memorial bandstand, and Town Hall Lane.

Samantha McIntosh, the mayor of Ballarat, explained that the Activated ArtWalk would inspire people to go out during the winter and take in the essence of the city.

 

 

As a picturesque heritage city, Ballarat is ideal for exploration during the winter. With the Activated Artwork, visitors can get a fresh perspective of the alleys, streets, and buildings. – Samantha McIntosh

She believes that the ArtWalk is a way for encouraging people to discover the history of the city and its past residents. With the augmented reality application on their phones, viewers can get the most enjoyable and immersive experience of the Ballarat Winter Festival.

Image source: visitballarat.com.au

According to McIntosh, the amalgamation of technology and art provided an additional reason for visitors to celebrate Ballarat, represented as a living work of art. It was the first Creative City Strategy instance in action.

The current year’s Ballarat Winter Festival has been infused with skills and creative thinking. Local artists have had a better chance to experience the AR ecosystem, and develop their skills with the immersive technology form. – Samantha McIntosh

A map with the Activated ArtWalk attractions on it can be found at the town hall, or even viewed online at ballaratwinterfestival.com.au.

The Ballarat Winter Festival starts on June 29, and the murals will be available till July 28.

 

 

 

 

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