Artscape is the premier street art festival in Sweden. It takes place at different locations across the country and has been running since 2014. In 2020 it focused on the region of Östergötland and in particular on the towns of Linköping, Motala, Mjölby and Åtvidaberg. A key element of this Artscape festival was it’s incorporation of Augmented Reality technology. Murals that come to life when viewed through the lens of a smart phone.
Of course 2020 was a difficult year for street art festivals and many were cancelled. Sweden as a nation however didn’t experience the same kind of severe lockdowns as elsewhere. Though even the Swedish faced two periods of time when the country did come to a standstill. It was in this context that Artscape still managed to put on their festival. One which would add another dimension. It became the first Augmented Reality focused street art festival.
Artscape Augmented Reality
“Painting on walls is perhaps the oldest visual art form there is” said Tor Hedenhal, one of the two founders of Artscape. “Some cave paintings are 30,000 year old. Combining the oldest with the absolute newest, this cutting edge tech of the future, feels very symbolic for us”.
Very much the idea of the 2020 Artscape Festival was to experiment. Working with a combination of the large scale hand painted murals. Then combining with the latest digital technology. The idea was to create something completely new and to further push the boundaries of urban art. In total 15 large scale murals were created over a period of 2 weeks. Eight of these incorporated Augmented Reality, developed alongside a company called EyeJack. All can be seen by downloading the Artscape AR app and viewing via smartphone or tablet.
Augmented Reality and Street Art
“Augmented reality will most likely be a massive part of our daily lives in just a few years time” said Daniel Wakeham, another founder of Artscape. “Helping public art explore this new technology is really exciting”.
It’s not the first time Augmented Reality has been used in such a way. Though it may well be the first time on such a scale and as a major component of a street art festival. Previously on Inspiring City we’ve covered projects in Shoreditch from INSA and France from Leon Keer and Massina. We’ve also featured the work of Fanakapan and Jask in using the technology to bring gallery paintings to life. It’s been a technology which has really started to evolve.
Even without the augmented reality element the murals of Artscape are impressive. Over the years an impressive body of murals have been curated across Sweden because of the festival. This year a host of international artists such as Adele Renault, Astro and JDL have joined a host of artists from Sweden in creating the works. From the UK Captain Kris and Pref travelled over. Both are artists who are very recognisable on the London scene. The murals created are impressive and can be seen in the gallery below along with where to find them.
The 2020 Artscape augmented reality street art festival took place between 28 September and 11 October 2020. In total 15 artists took part. The festival took place in the Östergötland of the country. Murals were painted across the region including Linköping, Motala, Mjölby and Åtvidaberg. All photographs used in this post are courtesy of Artscape.