Artist, Deepa Mann-Kler from Neon has been making headlines in Belfast recently with her new Augmented Reality (AR) application, 'AR Peace Wall'.
"The app explores peace building in a digital way and tells the story of a little boy on the morning the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. At its heart, this story is an exploration of the different approaches to peace building undertaken and how life found a way to survive heat that was 40 times greater than the heat emitted by the sun." - The Newsletter
We met Deepa Mann-Kler very early on in the development of Aura as a company. To this date she has been one of our staunchest advocates, one of our most influential clients and a strong mentor for us. To develop AR Peace Wall, Deepa put her trust in what was, at the time, a very young company. Although, the working relationship that formed from that first seed of trust has grown into what we could call one of our major success stories.
What we provided in terms of problem solving, production expertise and our actual ability to bring stories to life, Deepa doubled, if not tripled in return. Through the project we were featured at the Beyond Conference in 2021. A major milestone in our company's entrance into the local creative sphere. So in addition to providing us with a large scale project, Deepa also took us under her wing when it came to bolstering our network and our company name.
We collaborated on the App alongside YellowDesign, A local leader in AR technology. We provided assets, animations and creative oversight. Yellow Design then took that and made it work in AR. Professor Frank Lyons also joined the team as a music composer and audio designer. With Deepa at the helm of the project, backed by several cultural and funding bodies, we all moved seamlessly. The experience of working with multiple companies in such a collaborative manner was so unlike anything we've done before and was such a valuable experience.
In her BBC Article, Deepa explains the value in using AR to redefine public spaces. In Belfast this is especially true considering how hotly contested those spaces have been historically. What the experience has shown us, certainly, is that AR does redefine. It certainly redefined how he needed to consider making the actual animation. On a technical level and on an empathic level. We needed to consider things like: "Is this jump-cut going to make our audience sick?" "Is this animation going to look right depending on what viewpoint they are looking from?"
AR, as a medium, brings us so much closer to the audience and has such a pronounced effect emotionally. These two things alone have added so much, not only to the experience of watching the animation but on producing it as well. Throw into the mix, the ability for the peace wall to be digitally stripped away from view and to have a completely new reality be displayed in its place. With the prominence of the slowly emerging 'Metaverse' gathering speed in the tech sphere, a lot of emphasis is being put on what space means to all of us, and what AR can do to redefine it. Certainly, for us, AR has redefined how we approach story-telling. It allows us all to take a new approach to understanding the peace process. Additionally, a space Deepa has been developing in for a while now; how technology and the creative industries can work together to innovate.
In addition to all the press Deepa is getting on the back of the project, We are also due to attend a talk with her tomorrow (Tue 21st Feb) at Future Tuesdays by Future Screens NI. We will be talking about AR Peace Wall and the journey it has taken us on.
You can read more about the project in Deepa's own words at the links below: