Digital graffiti hidden in augmented reality at Washington state art museum

hololens digital graffiti typography
DongYoon Park
As the world starts to get its first taste of augmented reality technology through smartphones and developer headsets, not only do we have whole new virtual worlds to enjoy, but there is a new virtual veneer over the real one that can be exploited. No doubt it will eventually be used to put obnoxious advertising everywhere, but then artists can always hit back — with digital graffiti.

In fact, the first example of this has already made a real (virtual) world appearance, at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington state. Visitors with a Microsoft Hololens headset would have seen all of the same sculptures as everyone else, but also one that is entirely digital.

It is entitled Holographic Type Sculpture and was placed inside the museum by Microsoft user experience designer DongYhoon Park as a demonstration of what Hololens can do. As if getting a jump start on the question of whether graffiti is art, placing it within an art museum seemed quite apt.

The “sculpture” is a tall structure made from words and phrases, which move around the circumference of invisible blocks, making for an interesting looking art piece. It is a piece that most people will not see — unless they are looking at it through AR goggles.

If another Hololens user was to use their headset at the exhibition, they, too, would be able to see the floating text and even edit it — since Park made the sculpture interactive. That is something that could be a real hallmark of augmented reality in the future, with successive people adding to art exhibits over time.

As MSPowerUser explains, this gives us a really interesting insight into what the future of not only augmented reality might be like, but what the world could look like when viewed through a digital lens. Will we have virtual graffiti on every surface? Art exhibits on every corner if you load the right AR filter?

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