Snap and LACMA Bring Monuments to Life on Your Phone in AR Art Exhibit

An AR monument is seen next to the logos for the museum LACMA and Snapchat, all on a bright yellow background.

Thursday, the final iteration of photography social media app Snapchat and Los Angeles-based museum LACMA’s joint exhibition was released.

“Monumental Perspectives” is a collection of art monuments that can be viewed in augmented reality through Snapchat. This means users can launch the app to see the monuments come to life in the world around them.

“The third collection of AR monuments includes Victoria Fu’s meditation on the Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles; Yassi Mazandi’s consideration of climate displacement through imagery from the 12th-century Persian poem Conference of the Birds; Rashaad Newsome’s tribute to the spirit of perpetual regeneration and innovation in Black culture; Rubén Ortiz Torres’s response to the theft of bronze busts from Lincoln Park, which had honored Mexican historical figures; and Alison Saar’s shrine for women whose bodies have been colonized and commodified throughout time,” explains Snap.

Each monument can be viewed at its relevant location in Los Angeles, but anyone can view the artwork through Snapchat’s Lens Explorer by scanning the QR codes.

“This third collection of ‘Monumental Perspectives’ is going to be a reference for a lot of other artists to think about how art can be made in a different way,” Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director at LACMA, says in a video. “And LACMA will begin to acquire more works in augmented reality. Watching the technology change in this long-term collaboration with Snap makes you feel emotionally motivated to see a different future.”

To Govan’s point, while this is the last in the art series, the project exemplifies how exhibitions can be expanded through technology. The LA locations tie in the city’s story and break down museum walls to create something more immersive.

Further, the ability for anyone in the world to view these works also makes the exhibition highly accessible. No longer must people live in or visit certain cities to learn more about art, nor must people pay for entry or transportation, which can limit accessibility to those without financial means.

The new presentation also changes what a monument can or should be. The works depicted in “Monumental Perspectives” are not the unmoving forces many would expect from the art form. There is movement, interaction, and immersion.

“Watching the technology change in this long-term collaboration with Snap makes you feel emotionally motivated to see a different future,” Govan continues.

Information on the latest collection, as well as the QR codes for each piece of art, can be found on LACMA’s website.

Image credits: Snap