In this year alone, Snap Inc. has developed multiple experiential augmented reality (AR) projects for museums, tapping the company’s Snap Lens community. From its partnership with Sotheby’s for The Final Christo AR filter to its ongoing collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts for Monumental Perspectives, Snap is not lacking for a presence on the art and cultural front.
Now, London’s Design Museum, following its collaboration with Snap Inc. on the AR (and AI-assisted) Sneaker 0, is teaming up once more with the technology company. Landmarker, also created in collaboration with architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara, is an AR project marking the museum’s fifth year at its Kensington building and more vitally, addressing the urgent issue of climate change.
Onsite at Kensington, Design Museum visitors can scan a Snapcode to access an AR filter on the Snapchat platform. When pointed at the museum’s facade, the Snap Lans displays Kamara’s reimagined views of the building under the apocalyptic effects of climate change. In one frame, it is snow-covered, while pelted by a blizzard; and in another, it stands out in an arid desert alongside withered trees.
Landmarker aims to educate the general public about the immediacy of climate change, while forcing viewers to question how modern structures can be repurposed to be climate-conscious. “I wanted to use the facade of the Design Museum to explore how the built environment might respond to harsh conditions, and how we could perhaps put buildings to use in order to serve new needs under extreme conditions,” Kamara said in a press statement.
Why it matters
More and more, cultural institutions are leveraging technologies to address and approach the climate emergency: Humboldt Laboratory and the Ethnological Museum Of Berlin are just two organizations that have used AR and interactive tools to communicate the extreme effects of climate change. Besides framing the issue in innovative ways, such projects enable deeper emotional engagement by putting visitors in direct encounters with the pressing subject.
The Landmarker filter also demonstrates a novel and economical approach to immersive design. Rather than fitting out an entire gallery with projectors and screens, the AR filter simply offers a layered reality via a mobile platform that would appeal to a digital-first audience.
What Snap Inc. and the Design Museum said
“Sometimes, seeing is believing. This is another example of how Snap can use its augmented reality platform to tell really important stories.” — Will Scougal, International Head of Creative Strategy, Snap Inc.
“The imaginative re-use of existing structures needs to be at the heart of a climate-conscious architecture. And since augmented reality is such an engaging way of reimagining buildings, we are delighted to be partnering with Snap and Mariam Kamara to explore how our own home might be adapted in the future.” — Justin McGuirk, Chief Curator at the Design Museum