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Superblue announced JR Reality is a new interactive art project built on Niantic’s Lightship augmented reality platform.
Created by artist JR, the participatory art project launches today on iOS and Android. It uses AR technology from Niantic, pioneers of location-based AR titles like Pokemon Go and NBA All-World. Another partner is innovation firm Nexus Studios.
Now available to download in the U.S., the app lets people share personal stories and unlock thousands of geomapped locations in New York City, with international cities to be activated in the coming months. JR Reality invites everyone with a smartphone to create and contribute to AR murals that highlight the meaning that places in their communities hold for them.
Superblue is dedicated to supporting artists in realizing their most ambitious visions and engaging audiences with experiential art. It partnered on JR’s “Inside Out Project” to develop JR Reality bringing the project to a digital, global platform.
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Since 2013, the “Inside Out Project” has turned the world into a public canvas, giving visibility and agency to almost half-a-million people in 140 countries to date. Now the project has been taken to a global scale, connecting communities around the world through a collaborative virtual journal filled with personal stories rooted in physical places.
The app becomes more powerful when it’s shared. JR Reality encourages the community to get out and motivate others to join in the conversation and utilize the app in a unique way that serves their needs.
JR Reality offers an interactive platform for people to chronicle their cities, through stories. Everyone is invited to attach a portrait and/or personal audio bite to a geo-mapped location, leaving behind digital touchpoints for others to uncover for years to come. JR Reality leverages Niantic’s 3D map of the world to identify key points of interest so that all mobile devices can share the same frame of reference even on massive scales.
“Have you ever passed somebody on the street and wondered what their story is? Or looked up through a window and wondered who lives there, what kind of life do they have? It’s time to find out,” said JR, in a statement. “In my latest work, Reality, everyone is invited to leave portraits and voice messages attached to special places. It’s time to go outside and explore, and reconnect with one another and show the world your face again. Together, we can tell the world your story and meet the amazing people that live in your city.”
Powered by Niantic Lightship, the virtual community experiment uses geolocation and augmented reality to invite users to go outside, explore their local areas, and leave virtual messages for each other on a living AR mural. Niantic’s Lightship Visual Positioning System (VPS) enables AR murals to be placed at real-world locations with centimeter-level accuracy, ensuring murals stay exactly at the location no matter when a user visits. Superblue activated 2,784 VPS-activated locations in New York.
Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, CEO of Superblue, said in a statement, “With the launch of JR Reality, Superblue is excited to continue its mission to support the most ambitious projects in the realm of experiential art. Taking participatory work to a global scale puts JR and Superblue at the forefront of augmented reality. Superblue is dedicated to supporting ground-breaking experiences which allow people to connect with the field of art and technology and most importantly to find new and innovative ways to connect with each other.”
Caitlin Lacey, senior director of product marketing for AR Platform at Niantic, said in a statement, “We’re inspired by JR Reality’s use of the Niantic Lightship platform to bridge the digital and physical worlds and create a global network of living art. Each location is like an open book, inviting anyone to leave their unique story and discover the voices of others. We imagine a wonderful tapestry of “yes and” moments and memories that will be shared across the world.”
JR exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors, from the suburbs of Paris to the slums of Brazil to the streets of New York, pasting huge portraits of anonymous people, from Kibera to Istanbul, from Los Angeles to Shanghai. In 2011, he received the TED Prize, after which he created Inside Out, a global participatory art project that allows people worldwide to get their picture taken and paste it to support an idea and share their experience. As of January 2022, over 450,000 people from more than 141 countries participated.
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