Pick up your smart phone and witness the future of the art trail

About Britain
  • @simonekane

Are you fully teched-up with an iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod Touch, or an iPad 2?

Then why not download the AR:Tz app from the App Store – it could be the best fun you've had for some time for 69p.

Next, launch the application and point your device's camera at the image printed to the right here, making sure you have the whole black border in view. Up pops a digital 3D sculpture. (If you're reading this online, just point the camera at the image accompanying this column on your computer screen.)

Welcome to the world's first trail of 3D digital sculptures, the work of Brighton's Boing Splash Media and award-winning local digital agency Digicave, a specialist developer of a new wave of real 3D websites and applications.

Head to Brighton to pick up the new trail in full. On the city's pavements, at key cultural sites, you'll find a number of artworks – or digital "markers" – enclosed in permanent circular stickers.

Each of these contains a unique electronic "tag", which renders the 3D image in front of your eyes, via the app. Point your phone or iPad camera at them and one of a series of specially commissioned 3D sculptures, by artists including Lucy Courrina Bourn and Ste McGregor, will appear.

But this isn't just about looking – it's about interacting, too. Each virtual object appears in real time and space, so you can move around them, be photographed with them, then instantly share images via MMS or social networking sites.

The number of digital markers in Brighton has just been expanded to include a mini "sculpture park" on the railway station's concourse, while Nick Dunn, managing director of Boing Splash Media and the creator of the app, has also put some down outside the Idea Generation Gallery in Shoreditch, east London.

Markers can be moved, placed anywhere in the world and the sculptures are updatable. Animated artworks are in development, as is an Android version of the app, to make this accessible to more phone users, including those with an iPhone 3GS.

Even if you're just an armchair traveller, you don't need to leave the house to join in the fun. All the trail markers can be viewed on screen or printed out from the gallery page at artztrail.com – along with details of the trail marker locations.

You can even upload your own artwork to receive the augmented reality treatment.


Twitter: @Brightstart