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An Augmented Reality app

Kicking off their residency in March 2020, Playlines were originally tasked to investigate how AR and 5G could influence the “Gallery of the Future” and started planning a physical intervention in the NGX studio. But, in light of the Coronavirus crisis, they pivoted towards a direct response to life in lockdown.

Working with Dr Ali Hossaini from King’s College London, curators from the National Gallery, researchers from King's College London, and composer Catherine Kontz, Playlines built a new prototype app that explores how AR could enable audiences to exhibit a painting of Diana and Acteon from the Gallery’s 'Titian: Love, Desire, Death' exhibition curated by Dr Matthias Wivel, in their own homes and explore the canvas as a family experience on their walls, floors or ceilings.

Image: A screenshot of the app prototype (Left) and the augmented reality work in a home garden (Right)

Using principles of multichannel curation and interpretation enabled by augmented reality, Playlines recorded over 60 minutes of new content by nine speakers, giving users the option to hear from a broad selection of companion guides presenting different perspectives on the same painting.

User testing

Remote user testing took place in August and September with a sample of the National Gallery's audience recruited online, students recruited through King's College London's Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, as well as stakeholders and partners from across the organisations.

Prototype walkthrough

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The residency resulted in a major advance in scholarship when King's College London Classicist, Professor Emily Pillinger, compared the text of Diana and Actaeon's story in Ovid's Metamorphosis with the painting. She concluded that the Afro-Venetian woman depicted with Diana was the nymph Crocale, the divine daughter of Ismenus, rather than a human servant as normally interpreted.


Build: Playlines Limited
Content contributors: Matthias Wivel, Susanna Avery-Quash, Fiona Alderton, Emily Pillinger, Neil Jakeman, Sacha Golob, Tom de Freston, Joan Iyiola, Cedar Lewisohn
Music: Catherine Kontz

What is National Gallery X?

National Gallery X (NGX) is a partnership between the National Gallery and King's College London. It brings together King's College London’s research with the art and audiences of the Gallery to create the new museum experiences technology could make possible in the future.

Find out more