Active art and augmented reality

Photo courtesy of Paulo Majano

Photo courtesy of Paulo Majano

An art exhibition typically displays a set of paintings, sculptures or photographs, for the public’s observation and enjoyment, but now, new technologies have opened a window for innovation in the artistic atmosphere of Greater Vancouver.

The Surrey Art Gallery will be presenting I Was Here, an innovative art exhibition by Paulo Majano based in augmented reality: a technology that allows 3D graphics, images, sound or video to come to life, situating the viewer in a different time and space.

The exhibition takes place on a large floor work created by 3D scanning a 3×4 meter area of a river shore. Viewers are invited to interact with the exhibit’s various components.

Art in real time

I Was Here presents four photographs and one sculptural floor-based panel of people and places in South Vancouver. Here, attendees can interact with this scenarios and discover different views of the image, promoting not only the discovery of new technologies but also physical and mental activity.

Majano says the project took two years to come to life. The scenes were photographed on location, with the background shot as a 360-degree view, and then put together in a detailed process, injecting other elements and using green screen video technology to recreate a 3D scene. This exhibition consists of one large floor work, a 3×4 meter area of a river shore, simulating a scenario that can be explored in a 360-degree walking adventure. Aurasma is the app participants need to download to their devices in order to participate in this exhibition.

“This project continues the idea of using a technology-based medium to let viewers inhabit the locations virtually, being able to see more of the scene than what is captured in a single photograph. I am interested in experimenting with new technology to see the possibilities of new forms of storytelling,” said Majano.

An artist and teacher

Paulo Majano, graphic artist and teacher.| Photo courtesy of Paulo Majano.

Paulo Majano, graphic artist and teacher.| Photo courtesy of Paulo Majano.

Majano, originally from El Salvador, has been working throughout the last decade at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, first as a technician and now as a teacher, to utilize the latest technologies as a tool to make art accessible and fun, hoping to attract a bigger and wider audience to share his love of art.

As a teacher of digital media at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Majano feels the need to instill, curiosity and deep commitment in his students regarding the creation of art. He also promotes the inclusion of different manifestations of art in an exhibition of piece, as a mediator, observing and participating in visual culture.

Majano takes his mission as an educator seriously, and enjoys the task of influencing students and provoking a sense of societal responsibility within them.

“I feel that I have succeeded as an educator when I see in a student the realization that the practice of art is not simply the making of images or objects for display, but a commitment to engage in a process of aesthetic, intellectual and social inquiry,” he says.

I Was Here will be on display at the Surrey Art Gallery from Apr. 9 to June 12.


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