Lord Hall Intermedia Exhibit Features 3D, ‘Augmented Reality’

The University of Maine Intermedia MFA program is presenting “The Variable Museum,” a thesis work created by Master of Fine Arts student John Bell as part of “Without Borders VIII: Breaking Ground,” currently on display in the Lord Hall Gallery on campus.

Exhibition times are Monday through Thursday from 10-11a.m. and 3-4 p.m. until Without Borders closes Sept. 15.

The Variable Museum uses augmented reality (AR) techniques that insert digital objects into a visitor’s view of the real world around them in real time. Viewers wear a pair of glasses with built-in cameras that record what their eyes would normally see and send that video to a computer where 3D objects are added before it is displayed inside the glasses. An optical tracking system allows visitors to walk around and see the objects from different perspectives, just as if they were physical artworks in the gallery.

Unlike the physical artworks in the gallery though, viewers of The Variable Museum do not all see the same objects. Each person sees something different, and only by talking to the other visitors can they discover what other people see and then uncover the common ties that bind the artworks together. The Variable Museum uses AR technology not just to show objects that don’t exist, but also to show them in a way that would not be possible in the real world, according to Bell and Owen Smith, director of the Intermedia MFA program.

The three-year Intermedia MFA program provides graduate students an opportunity to engage in innovative, creative and theoretical work in a flexible program that encourages individual development within an interdisciplinary context. Since 2004, the Without Borders Contemporary Arts Festival has presented a wide range of ideas focused on exploring the spaces between culture, art, science and technology by regional, national and international artists engaged in reexamining the nature of creative production.

Information about the Intermedia MFA can be found on its website.

Contact: Owen Smith, (207) 581-4389[Marker]