How Philly is Bringing Art to Life With Augmented Reality
Photo Credit: Photo: Mural Arts of Philadelphia

How Philly is Bringing Art to Life With Augmented Reality

Art and technology are colliding to bring hope to West Philadelphia.

Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny, an augmented reality mural, incorporates images, sound samples and an app to give audiences a full AR experience. In collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia, artists King Britt and Joshua Mays teamed up with local Philadelphia students for the year-long project.

“The interactive technology of augmented reality is definitely where a lot of art is going. It’s an immersive experience that can bring the viewer into a whole world,” said Britt. “With this app and music, it takes the whole visual to another level and to have this technology in your pocket is mind-blowing.”

Britt, who is originally from Philadelphia, said that the visual representation and legacy of the mural are what makes it so interesting. Britt is a composer, DJ and music curator. 

“I am Philly to the core,” said Britt, noting that his hometown has largely influenced his work.

Mays is an Oakland-based painter and muralist whose work can be found in Washington, D.C., Denver, London and Johannesburg.

“I posted a tweet saying ‘Why doesn’t Joshua Mays have a mural in Philly?’,” Britt recalled. Within days, Britt and Mays were in contact with Mural Arts Philadelphia for the interactive mural.

“When King Britt and Joshua Mays approached us with an idea for a multi-disciplinary mural project that would be scored like a film, we were enthralled,” said Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia Jane Golden. “As it turns out, this project is not only visually stunning, it blends technology and public art-making in unexpected and innovative ways. ”

Students from the Mural Arts Art Education program assisted Britt and Mays over the summer in developing sound samples and visuals for Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny.

“What is most exciting to us is that the young people in our Art Education program are truly the co-authors of a work of public art that is unlike anything else in the city and beyond,” said Golden.

Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program and has helped Philadelphia become known for its murals. Since 1984, more than 3,600 have been produced around the city to prevent graffiti and to inspire its citizens. 

To get the full experience of Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny, audiences will have to download the free app by Blue Design. A dedication to the mural will take place on October 9.