Augmented reality app 'Refrakt' features paintings from the Gemäldegalerie


This June, young digital artists Carla Streckwall and Alexander Govoni unveiled their project for the master class in visual communication at the UdK (University of the Arts) Berlin. Participation in the master class is open to only a handful of students who have completed their degree with distinction. The project sees itself as an intervention in the museum space. Refrakt consists of a specially developed augmented-reality smartphone and tablet  app that the artists have used to enliven selected works in the Gemäldegalerie's collection, creating a virtual space for their own digital works.

By moving through the gallery with the app and pointing the smartphone camera at one of the 82 selected pictures, visitors can call up 3D installations, interactive artworks, and a variety of perception experiments on their devices' displays. The result is a crossover between the old masters and digital art, which allows the visitors to experience classical painting in a fresh and modern way.

The number of digital artworks being made around the world is currently increasing at a rapid pace, which is just one of the many reasons why Refrakt can be viewed as a blueprint for future museum models which position these non-physical works of art in the physical space. In this light, Carla Streckwall and Alexander Govoni's current virtual exhibition  in the Gemäldegalerie, 'Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear', is just the first of several other planned interventions at different locations at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Visitors must download the app from the App Store  before their visit to the Gemäldegalerie's permanent exhibition.