We’ve seen the Augmented Reality Instagram filter effects people use to make their eyes go green, eyelashes longer, and face tattooed. There are ones that you can put dinosaurs in your back garden, or for fun to find out which Disney princess or which Ikea furniture are you?
Only this morning, after the barrage of the saddening American election debate stories, an Instagram story from an artist made me laugh. She used an effect that turned her face and voice to Disney’s Princess Jasmine, but then she was unable to stop her eyes from winking weirdly. And yes, you read that right, the effect also changed her voice.
I was curious to find out whether or not Museums are making and using these effects? Instagram effects seem to be a fun way to engage with new audiences, and possibly with the museum collections especially in this pandemic lockdown period.
The technology to make these effects is free to download from Spark by Facebook. The ones I have seen are created mainly by considering spatial and facial recognition. Spark has also now enhanced the software so creators could make filters that respond to music, use AR sticker templates, and be used not only on Instagram Story but also on Instagram Reels.
There are 1.2 million of these Augmented Reality effects on Facebook and Instagram. They are created by around 400,000 people/creators. Considering that the 150 main effects creators generated more than 1 billion Instagram views, surely there is a slice there somewhere for museums?
Beside Googling, I also went through some museums and galleries Instagram accounts that I follow, some of which are well known as the best museums in the world. Recognising that creating AR effects for Instagram is probably not on the top priority of museums at the moment, with the plethora of issues they are facing and being unable to open for most of the year, I didn’t really look into smaller museums. Here is what I found.
Googling landed me on an article in The Arts Newspaper (March 2020) about artists creating effects for museums. This article mentioned Tate Britain using the filter effects on 8 diverse artworks in the museum(in-depth article on Museum Next).
It looks pretty cool, it seems that it gives a 3-D effect to some of them. According to Manuel Char, “…are able to frame themselves within the art, exploring the narratives behind the images and creating their own personal connections.”
You do have to visit the Tate to engage with the effects.
Museum of London
Released in May, users can see which London Borough are You when they use the effect.
The Metropolitan Museum, New York
Similar to the Museum of London, the Met also released a which-one-are-you effect, Which Artwork are you?
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
This museum won the award of producing the most effects, 10. Besides the which-one-are-you effects of Bizarre Beast, quirky objects, and artwork to match your expression with, users are able to put themselves in front of some of the scenery paintings they have in their gallery. Paintings like Constable’s clouds, Hiroshige’s coastline, and Monet’s sunset.
Museum Macan, Jakarta, Indonesia
You can put a chicken in your living room, or any gallery you visit. This filter is created for their postponed exhibition called Why let the chicken run? A documentary exhibition of performance artist, Melati Suryodarmo. The filter seems to have a humorous approach in looking at serious art, considering the artist take on the exhibition:
“With the many dilemmatic situations that I was in and confronted with, being an Indonesian in a western environment, I made a decision about being a representative – of not being a representative of a culture or of a country – in my work. I was thinking very much against the terms of exoticism. The term exotic is always used as how western people see coloured people and the terms appear because of colonialism. I decided I am against being exotic.” (Stirworld.com)
It certainly made me question why a chicken?
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore
The most engaging museum effect filters I have seen so far. Their Fashion & Jewellery effect was released to celebrate Singapore National Day. You can wear traditional dresses or accessories from the collection, not only that the effects tell them what the objects are and where the objects are from. The slight problem is that the dresses are too small for my body.
Another filter is a quiz filter called Multicultural Questions. You are shown items from the collection and are asked what the items are used for or what is it. To answer you need to tilt your head towards the answer. Try it out, it is pretty fun.
Have you seen any different ways museums use Instagram effect filters? Please share.
Other Museums I looked at:
- British Museum
- Science Museum
- Natural History Museum
- Royal Greenwich
- Whitworth Gallery
- Birmingham Museum
- Manchester Museum
- National Museum of Korea
- Royal Ontario
- Musee D’Orsay
- National Gallery
- Musee Rodin
- Van Gogh museum
- Melbourne Museums
- Museums Victoria
- Museum of Liverpool
- Arts Institute Chicago
- MCA Chicago
- The Met Museum