New art exhibit brings images to life at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Screenshot from video exploring U-M's first-ever augmented reality art exhibit called "Traces" at the Humanities Gallery. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – What if technology could alter the way you experience art?

At a new art exhibition at the University of Michigan, tablets are provided to visitors to bring the artwork to life using augmented reality software. “Traces” by Camila Magrane is the first exhibit of its kind and is on view at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery through Feb. 10.

Visitors can also bring their personal cell phones to unlock the AR experience, which uses the application Virtual Mutations.

“What’s really fascinating to me about this type of work and using these mixed mediums is that it creates a dialogue between the physical and the virtual,” Magrane said in a statement. “The phone or the tablet is just a mediator between those two worlds.”

Magrane said her physical works stand on their own and that the virtual content act as thoughts of those works.

“They are like these digital creatures that live in the physical realm but can also have ideas and thoughts that come from them, and those are only presented virtually,” she said in a statement. “One of the things I love about this type of work is watching how people interact with it. It’s always different, it never gets old; there’s that sense of surprise that happens because this is not very traditional work and it is not seen very often.”

“Magrane’s images feel connected to the surrealist compositions of artists like Salvador Dali, or Rene Magritte, rooted in the unconscious, dream-like, sensuous and unsettling,” Institute for the Humanities curator Amanda Krugliak said in a release. “At the same time, the works reference the graphic hyperrealism of contemporary video game design which continues to be an integral part of Magrane’s artistic practice.”

While using the app to view the art, viewers are unable to send a text or take a photo, which allows for an uninterrupted viewing experience.

The Institute for Humanities Gallery is located at 202 S. Thayer St. and is free and open to the public.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.