Brown Institute Makes Magic at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation are pleased to announce the launch of Art++, an augmented reality (AR) mobile app created for art museum visitors. Heralded as the cutting edge of media, augmented reality refers to any technology that superimposes graphics onto a user’s normal field of vision, often through a camera viewfinder or headset. The app’s release coincides with the July 13 opening of Art++ Technology and Art Lab, a Cantor exhibition that showcases the capabilities of Art++ by featuring artwork that visitors can explore through augmented reality. Click to read more…

As technology has an increasing presence in our daily lives, museums are investigating new ways for digital innovation to enrich our firsthand encounters with art. At Stanford, the idea for Art++ came about after a conversation between former Cantor Director Connie Wolf and Professor Bernd Girod, Founding Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. (The Brown Institute is housed jointly at Stanford’s School of Engineering and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York.) With a Magic Grant from the Brown Institute, the Art++ Initiative was launched in the summer of 2014. The exhibition Art++ Technology and Art Lab is the culmination of this two-year effort.

All Art++ content is based on three AR experiences: overlays, panoramas, and series. The Art++ Technology and Art Lab installation features objects ranging from a 17th-century Dutch landscape painting to a 20th-century Nigerien textile that were chosen specifically for their capacity to highlight Art ++. The AR graphics can provide the user with insight into the long and complex history of an image, explain the processes involved in art conservation, or even offer a panoramic view of an actual site replicated in an image.

The Art++ Initiative presents new opportunities to meld Stanford’s world-class engineering research with its flourishing arts scene. In turn, the Cantor exhibition Art++ Technology and Art Lab provides a glimpse of what is possible when technology enhances the experience of viewing and enjoying art.

Software Release

The Art++ image recognition and augmented reality platform is available for use as open- source software. Please contact the team at artplusplus.stanford.edufor more information. The Art++ team will demonstrate the app at the Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference in New Orleans, November 1–4, 2016. The MCN is a global community of professionals who seek to use digital technologies to help fulfill the missions of their cultural organizations.

About the Art++ Team

Jean-Baptiste Boin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford, advised by Professor Bernd Girod. His research interests lie in image retrieval and computer vision—in particular, augmented and virtual reality.

Skanda Shridhar recently graduated from Stanford University with an M.S. in electrical engineering. He is excited by the opportunity to work on a project in computer vision and signal processing.

Anna Toledano, Art++ copywriter and Ph.D. student in Stanford’s Department of History, is studying history of science. Prior to coming to Stanford, she worked in interpretation at the New York Botanical Garden, where she also produced content for mobile apps.

María del Carmen Barrios Giordano serves as Curatorial Assistant to the Art++ Initiative at the Cantor Arts Center. She graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in history and international relations in 2013.

Bernd Girod, the Robert L. and Audrey S. Hancock Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, serves as advisor to the Art++ technical team.