On the heels of my last review of an interactive news article, I went to the opening of a media boundary stretching show at the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle. Blending current mobile technology with a traditional looking art book, this show illustrated turning two dimensions into three...a technique that I predict will play a significant role in helping direct the future of printed books.
From their flyer: "Similar to a traditional pop-up book, three dimensional versions of featured artists' work will spring to life as the viewer turns each page. But instead of elaborate paper cutouts, new technology called Augmented Reality (AR) will allow the viewer to see the artwork in three dimensions on their mobile device – iPhone, iPad, and Android."
This example of new media might have been enough to cause me to make the trip to Seattle to see the exhibit, but what clinched it was that the show included the work of an artist featured before on SEA-Media's web site: Karen Hackenberg.
In keeping with a theme that's been characteristic of her work for a while now, Karen's work was a set of sculptures made from trash found on the beach. Specifically, they were sea urchin sculptures made from beach-found floatation foam and plastic fireworks tips.
What tied her sculptures to this book exhibit was that one of the pages in the book was hers, and the AR popup from that page was one of her sea urchin sculptures.
Here is a video that shows how the 3D image of the sculpture pops up from the book's page...the video quality isn't the greatest, I was holding an iPad with one hand and filming it with a phone in my other hand, but the concept it conveys is earthshaking. Not only is the 3D popup amazing, but it illustrates how the popup image and the real, physical page can be used together to provide context for the subject. In this case, the book provides a glimpse of the urchin's habitat that is missing from the physical displays of the urchin sculptures, and the 3D popup provides a 3D view with amazing detail that wouldn't be possible in a printed book.
More details about the exhibit, which runs until 28 May 2016, and the book can be found at the Center on Contemporary Art web site.