Look up!

When we walk down a city block, we are surrounded by signs, landmarks, buildings, and infrastructure — each element provides context to our journey. Whether we notice them or not, many of them leave indelible and memorable marks on our mental maps: that uneven sidewalk, this neon sign, that old-timey storefront. But when we ride the subway, all context between point A and point B disappears.

Ian Callendar, an incoming student at Columbia University’s Master in Architecture program, took the challenge to insert context into the subway ride and hacked an elegant, Media Architecture Biennial award-winning project: Uptown Underground — the opposite of a glass-bottomed boat!

Playfinding at SXSW 2019

Happy to announce that we’ll be hosting a playfinding session at SXSW 2019 entitled “Mummies to Manet: Immersive Experiments in Museums.” Please join us in Austin in March for an engaging conversation with Dia Felix of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Andrea Montiel De Shuman of Detroit Institute of Arts and Jennifer Snyder of The Art Institute of Chicago. Take a minute to check out all the other great sessions in SXSW’s Experiential Storytelling Track.



Enlivening Magritte’s Landscapes

René Magritte’s mission was to imbue prosaic things like men in bowler hats with surreal effects. frog design and SFMOMA take that mission a step further by enlivening his paintings in an immersive gallery as part of the show “René Magritte: The Fifth Season” on view May 19–October 28, 2018. Check out this video and Mashable’s article on the exhibit, in which Chad Coerver, SFMOMA’s chief content officer, said:

“These kinds of wordless, playful experiences can have tremendous impact… It somehow serves to cement the experiences and bring them closer to the artwork in ways that words can’t.”

Lumin enlightens at The Detroit Institute of Art

The Detroit Institute of Arts partnered with Google and mobile developer GuidiGO to create Lumin, an augmented reality experience within its Middle Eastern collections. This is the first public demonstration of Google’s Project Tango real-time 3D mapping platform. Visitors follow a borrowed Android smartphone to navigate to seven stops on this tour, revealing X-ray imagery and color restorations when they pan the smartphone screen over the objects. Read Marina Gross-Hoy’s thoughtful review of the experience on her blog, Imaginibus.

Pokéstops in Post-Katrina New Orleans

Pokemon in the Ninth Ward

Since Pokémon Go started clogging my neighborhood sidewalks and my twitter feed, I’ve been most curious about its Pokéstops—real-world landmarks geo-located within the game’s world. I’ve only dabbled in Pokémon Go in an area dense with significant physical landmarks (Lower Manhattan) and wondered what it’s like to play (and play-find) in more expansive less touristy landscapes.

Journalist Rob Walker took the game for a spin (literally: on his morning bike rides) through his neighborhood, the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. His thoughtful essay explores the game’s tenuous connection to the real world in a place where ruin, rebuilding, and change have already augmented reality far more than a game could.

Read Pokémon Go in the Lower Ninth Ward by Rob Walker