"Augmented Curiosities"

Observatory of the unseen - Art & Technology Workshop

Introduction - Science reveal!


In 1595, the first microscope is made by a Dutch optician.

On the 10th, avril, 2019, The first picture of M87*, a huge black hole, is being published through the internet. Eight scientific observatories worked together in order to create this incredible picture that cannot be seen originally by traditional humans eyes.


Through the history of humanity, technology have always being a great achievement to be able to reveal some obscure and fascinating facts.


Today the Augmented Reality technology reach a maturity state, and some companies bring new tools that unleash new ways to observe the worlds through mobile connected objects. By the way, in the late 60s, the media specialist and theoretician Marchscall Mac Luhan brung up an interesting thought that all Medias are  "extensions" to our natural senses and  our bodies. Thus, from glasses on your eyes through mobile connected devices along with AR / VR, technology seems to be a perfect tool for stretching our vision to the invisible infinity.


In this workshop, we'll make "small" AR focused projects with a question in mind:   how to show AR content in an art context.?

The idea would be to get inspiration from the cabinet of curiosities (珍奇屋) , where some strange and scientific objects from all over the world were exposed in the sixteenth century. 


 This Workshop will mainly focus on:

  •  Reflection on how to represent strange or invisible (or not yet visible) phenomena: scientific like electricity? Qi energy? belief like a God?)
  •  Discover how to use mobile devices, not only as a mean of communication (or a media for watching movies) , but as a creative tool.
  •  Explore the new writing potentialities offer by AR technology, understand his limit.
  • Create an interesting relation between a traditional printed or tangible object (drawing, photo, sculpture..) and a digital layer (video/3d...)


Note: Soon, Adobe is going to release his next AERO Project ("Adobe AR") ... Le't s see what this technology is made of, and how designer could take over it to produce not only a beautiful and immersive experience, but also build a reflexion against it. 

Creative AR Example in art

Zapworks Studio : a Simple AR / VR experience creative tool by Zapworks studio

Zapworks  helps you to design a full AR experience, mixing images, video animation, animated 3d models and sound. Publish your AR using Zappar App on iOS and Android.

See an introduction of Zapworks Studio


First time start:

1 - Create a personal “Hobby Account” in https://zap.works/ (can use Facebook / google login ) and check the box “I am using zap works for personal use only and not commercial”

2 - Download Zapworks Studio for WINDOWS or APPLE

3 - Install it, start it, Login, Your are OK!


Technical  limitations aspect to bear in mind for mobile devices:


- Final project upload should be kept < 15 mo

- Images: .jpg or .png, Maximum 2048*2048 pixels

- Video: .mp4, (H264 codec), Maximum 1280*720 pixels. Can be streaming file for long video (> 10mo) or embedded for short video.

- Sound: .mp4, (AAC codec), 160kbps, 44100hz

- 3d models:  .fbx .obj + .mtl file, .pod... max 10 mo / model.


Software on the creative side

- Zapworks Studio Editor:

Zapworks Studio OSX

Zapworks Studio Windows


- Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Premiere CC, After Effects CC...

ask me if you need them during the workshop

- Audacity (free software for sound editing)


App on the viewer side

- Mobile AR software viewer:

Zappar for iOS

Zappar for Android


Free Online Ressources and links



http://www.pngpix.com/    free transparent png files

https://www.freepik.com/   free vector and .psd files



https://www.onlinevideoconverter.com/     Download and convert many video online from youtube etc

https://video.online-convert.com/    Convert all files online




https://freesound.org/     Download many free sounds


3d model:

Zapworks Basic 3d model    Light and nice 3d starting models for Zapworks

https://sketchfab.com/     3d models online ressource (incorporated to Zapworks studio)

https://labs.sketchfab.com/sculptfab/      App to sketch 3d sculpture online

https://clara.io/     App to create animated 3d models online