Unmute Art – The True Essence of Warhol

Project : Unmute Art

Localion: Pietrasanta basilic, Italy

Year : 2019 – 2020

“The True Essence of Warhol exhibition was open to the public from the 26th September 2019 until the 23th February 2020. It featured over 150 works by the genius of Pop Art!

For the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Pietrasanta basilic in Napoli, Orpheo partnered with the Italian National Deaf Agency and exhibition producer Arthemisia. The collaborative project produced an exciting multimedia guide which revolutionised the industry standard for accessibility.

Unmute Art! truly brought the exhibition to life and created a new means of engagement for deaf and hearing visitors alike.

This innovative project was initially designed to offer the best possible user-experience to deaf people, to access the history of the work without looking away from the painting. 

In order to achieve this Orpheo developed, in partnership, unique augmented reality content in which sign language is used to allow the artworks to tell their own story. As a result, audio impaired visitors were not sidelined, but rather brought to the forefront with exciting and engaging accessible content.

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Our goal was to create a radical and new approach to accessible content with a focus on an  “eyes up” visitor experience.

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Image recognition was identified at the early stage of the project as the key technology for ensuring an immersive visitor experience. Once the painting is recognized by the software, the augmented reality model is initialized so the right video can be displayed on the screen. Our software engineer integrated a transparent video which is automatically calibrated over the artwork to create the magical effect.

To the viewer, it seems that the painting comes to life before their eyes and talks to them!

Our goal was to produce high quality video content for augmented reality which would be indiscernible from the original artwork and complimentary to the exhibition. We chose to reproduce Warhol’s most iconic paintings (Marilyn Monroe, Sitting Bull, Mick Jagger, and Liz Taylor). Visitors were able to see them move, speak, and interact with them. We involved four talented deaf actors who collaborated with us on the project in a very creative way. 

The actors became the subjects of the paintings through a long process beginning with body painting and make-up art in order to create the perfect rendering. The actors were then filmed in a pose mimicking the composition of the paintings and using sign language to describe the informative content of the exhibition. The video included subtitles and so it is accessible to a wider audience. Augmented reality technology was then used so that when the multimedia guide was held up to a painting, the guide would recognise it and the video would bring the painting to life as a character who talks to you in sign language.

As Andy Warhol said “Pop Art is for everyone”.

To the public, it seems that the painting comes to life before their eyes and talks to them !

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