Augmented reality has been around for a while and can be quite amusing. I remember getting a link to an app that allowed me to pick from a range of animal pictures and then use my phone camera to click a pic of the animal placed in my house. This was during the lockdown and I had a lot of fun sending friends pics of various animals in my drawing room. They believed it when I said I had adopted a dog, but when I pushed it with a pic of a horse next to my dining table, they turned all cynical.
Funny apps aside, augmented reality can also be a means of artistic expression, as a recently opened exhibition by Alliance Francaise (AF) Ahmedabad at the Hutheesing Centre shows. Called Midi Minuit, the exhibition features the work of 11 French artists.
naugurating the show on Wednesday, French Consul General (Mumbai) Jean-Marc Sere-Charlet said that the exhibition was meant to showcase the culture of modern art in France. “We are already known for our classic art,” he said. “But new forms of digital art have now emerged in a big way and we would like Ahmedabad to experience that.”
The opening of the exhibition certainly was an immersive experience for the guests, who were required to download a free app and then use it to view the artworks. As you view them through your phone camera, the images change, with daylight birds turning into night owls and the sun hovering over a desert island gradually transforming into a moon. For those who had trouble using the app on their phone, AF arranged for guides with large screen tablets.
According to exhibition curator Aurelien Jeanney, founder of Maison Tangible in Paris, “Midi Minuit was born of the desire to bring together the crème de la crème of French illustration around a single theme. We asked 11 artists to create poetic images about the passing of time. From the sea shore to the plush interior of a flat, from the rising tide to space travel, the images question our relationship with time and life that passes by.”
Midi Minuit is a part of AF’s Digital November initiative, which aims to showcase digital art in 11 Indian cities where AF is present. Says AF Ahmedabad Director Emmanuel Bottiau: “Last year we had a group exhibition of digital art which received a very enthusiastic response from audiences.”
The Midi Minuit exhibition is open till 8 November. Another event in the Digital November initiative is La Selection VR, a virtual reality tour of Paris, at Arthshila (Nov 3-5) and AF Ahmedabad (Nov 21-25). The third exhibition, at Arthshila (Nov 21-30), is Escape, a journey to the heart of digital cultures, which offers a dive into the history of the Internet.