Transforming Art with Mixed Reality
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Transforming Art with Mixed Reality

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This Microsoft artistic collaboration blends the real and virtual worlds and blurs the line between human and machines

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Transformation Mask is an experiential sculpture piece that brings art and technology together as it morphs from bird mask to human-merged-with-machine. It the result of a collaboration between Canadian artist Shawn Hunt and Microsoft Vancouver’s in-house maker space, The Garage. It Leverages electronics and mechanical engineering in a physical transformation, before beginning an immersive holographic experience for the viewer with the HoloLens.

This Microsoft artistic collaboration blends the real and virtual worlds Click To Tweet


But while the project is certainly interesting enough from a technical perspective – the way it blends 3D-printed and robotics elements with HoloLens mixed reality holograms via Bluetooth is sure to get anybody with a penchant for geeky tinkering very excited – what makes it truly ground-breaking is the way it uses those technologies to explore aesthetics, identity, and artistic expression in new ways.

Transformation Mask is an experiential sculpture piece that merges art and technology Click To Tweet

Shawn Hunt is a successful Vancouver-based artist who – like many people in British Columbia – is of mixed descent, combining Scottish, French and indigenous Heiltsuk heritage. Rather than seeing that conflict of identities as a problem, however, Hunt has always leveraged it as a part of his art:

“I have never felt like I really belonged to any one particular movement, culture, category, or clique. As an artist this has given me an incredible amount of freedom. I don’t feel that my work is conceptual, traditional, artefact or craft. It is neither ancient nor modern. Instead, I feel as though my work has elements of all of these categories. This is a freedom that allows me to distort, subvert, hijack and remix these categories in order to offer new points of view. I want to challenge the viewers’ preconceptions. I like the idea of art being like a catalyst, or a flash point. I think art is most powerful when it poses questions, not when it gives the viewer the answers. My goal is to make the viewer think.”

So it made perfect sense for him to take this subversion and remixing to the next step by incorporating cutting-edge technologies in his work. That led him to accept Microsoft’s invitation to essentially come and play with all the shiny toys in their impressive Vancouver HQ. Hunt and his team of artists then collaborated with a host of designers and engineers to explore how Robotics, 3D-Printing and Mixed Reality could help tell traditional stories in a new and powerful way.

Read the full article on The Next Web

 


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Also published on Medium.