Arcade part of team selected for FestivalUK*2022

Arcade is thrilled to announce that our submission to FestivalUK*2022 has been successful! We have been selected as one of 30 creative teams, out of the 299 teams who applied, for the research and development phase of the Festival that culminates in pitching our idea to the Festival panel.

FestivalUK*2022 is a programme created to celebrate the best of UK STEAM, ultimately commissioning ten large scale public engagement projects that will showcase the UK’s creativity and innovation to the world, and we join an incredibly exciting team now competing for one of those ten commissions:

  • London Marathon Events (Hugh Brasher and Penny Dain, Lead Organisation)
  • Imperial War Museums (Ellie Head and Michael Hoeschen)
  • National Physical Laboratory (Sundeep Bhandari)
  • Welsh National Opera (Emma Flatley and Tianyi Lu)
  • NTS Live (Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura)
  • Dr Rashmi Becker
  • Kinjal Dave
  • and, of course, Arcade (Jon Meggitt and Alex Book)
The full set of teams can be found here: https://www.festival2022.uk/the-r-d-the-30-creative-teams  

Alex Book, Arcade Chief Strategy Officer, said: “We could not be more proud that the FestivalUK*2022 team have looked at this incredible collaboration of creative talents, and selected us as one of just 30 teams tasked with thinking big and coming up something truly spectacular. We are so privileged to be a part of this process, and so excited to see what we come up with.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of team lead London Marathon Events, said: “We’re hugely excited by this amazing team and working together on a vision for engaging with millions of people in Great Britain and around the world. This is a wonderful opportunity to create a truly innovative project that will live long in people’s memories.”

The full FestivalUK*2022 press release can be found here: https://www.festival2022.uk/press-area

IWM DUXFORD’S OBSERVER CORPS VR EXPERIENCE LAUNCHES!

IWM Duxford's Observer Corps VR Experience has launched to commemorate the Battle of Britain's 80th anniversary

Would you have had what it took to protect the few?

This is the question being asked of people around the country – and the world – ahead of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. ‘The few’, so famously referenced by Sir Winston Churchill in his iconic speech, are of course the brave pilots of the RAF who risked so much to protect the country from invasion.

But they could not have succeeded without knowing what they were up against. Early warnings of incoming Luftwaffe raids – how many aircraft, what type, where and headed in which direction – provided the critical information that made RAF Fighter Command’s speedy response possible. This vital job fell not to seasoned military veterans, but to the civilian volunteers of the Observer Corps.

Now the Observer Corps Experience, created by Arcade for IWM Duxford, allows the public to get a glimpse of what it might have been like to bear this heavy responsibility.

Using a mobile VR web app, we invite users to step back in time to September 15th, 1940. This momentous day is now seen as the climax of the Battle of Britain, with the increasingly desperate Luftwaffe launching its heaviest attacks against the British mainland throughout the day, and it was up to the Observer Corps to spot incoming raids and relay the information to RAF Fighter Command as quickly and accurately as possible.

Watch the incredible archive and re-enacted footage, then grab your binoculars and do your job to protect the ‘Few’. Follow the link or QR code below to step into the shoes of the brave men and women of the Observer Corps.

On mobile? Cick here to launch the experience. On desktop? Point your phone camera at the QR code below.

If you enjoy the experience, or want to find out more, then why not head to IWM Duxford? It is fully re-opened, with extensive measures in place to keep visitors safe. Book your tickets here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford

The Arcade: A school trip with a difference!

How do you go on a school trip when you can't go to school?

National Historic Ships UK is one of the heritage organisations to take advantage of a recent offer we made to fellow Heritage Alliance members of creating a free virtual gallery, part of our efforts to support the sector during lockdown. They are based at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, so it was fitting that we approached the school physically closest to them, Meridian Primary School, to offer their pupils the opportunity to go on a school trip with a difference.

Following close liaison and planning with the Year 4 teacher, Jeff Mason, a detailed note was circulated explaining how the kids could access the National Historic Ships exhibition in our gallery space, The Arcade. It is built on Mozilla Hubs, which we chose because unlike most VR platforms it is available to anyone with a web browser, a critical consideration for any virtual experience designed for mass audiences, as The Arcade very much is.

Then it was time to open the doors and welcome the kids in! Pandas, foxes, robots and all sorts of other characters popped up as they chose their avatars and came into the gallery. This was the first time many of them had been in direct contact with each other for many months, since lockdown began, and they quickly delighted in moving around the gallery and chatting away to each other. We left them to discover the chat functionality, and then how to bring 3D emojis into the space, which they did within moments.

Jeff himself was highly visible as a bright yellow floating robot, and after giving them time to enjoy themselves exploring the gallery together, asked his pupils to engage with the National Historic Ships photography exhibition itself. They looked at the photographs and chose their favourites, took a few minutes to sketch them and imagined what it might be like to sail on them.

But mostly they just had fun! They hadn’t been able to see each other for months, and through the magic of this virtual experience they were brought back together again. Since the Year 4 trip, the other classes at Meridian that have not been able to return to school have also visited the gallery. Years 2, 3 and 5 all enjoyed their own trips, and came together in The Arcade. This was immersive technology for real purpose, and it was such a pleasure to be a part of it.

Learn more about The Arcade and other virtual experiences

Welcome to The Arcade! Virtual gallery launches on Google and Mozilla

THE ARCADE IS OPEN

After several years working with some of the UK and Europe’s best culture and heritage organisations, we thought it was about time we became one ourselves! We are incredibly proud to open the doors to The Arcade, our very own gallery.

The Arcade is a three-dimensional space where visitors can explore arts, culture and heritage exhibitions from anywhere in the world. Created in response to the Coronavirus lockdown but with an important role still to play once we are in a post-Covid world, The Arcade is open to all; whether you’re using a computer, mobile, tablet or even VR headset, you can step inside and enjoy the view.

A SHARED EXPERIENCE

As well as being universally accessible, The Arcade also exists across a variety of platforms. Google Poly offers a series of 360° views of the gallery space, with the ability to enlarge and learn more about the artworks around you. Poly is also linked to the Google Expeditions app, designed to bring it into the classroom and make it viewable in VR.

Google Poly: 360° Views

But perhaps the platform in which The Arcade most comes to life is Mozilla Hubs, a web-based social environment that allows visitors to enter the space together, move around it just like you would in a physical gallery and chat with each other as you go. This kind of shared experience is at the heart of so many visits to culture and heritage spaces, and it can be meaningfully replicated in The Arcade. We believe that although this is especially timely as lockdown conditions endure, the benefits of these social cultural environments will last far longer than Covid-19.

Mozilla Hubs: Free roam in a shared social space

NOW SHOWING @ THE ARCADE

The first three exhibitions in The Arcade, presented in association with The Heritage Alliance, are Landmark Trust’s Coastal Landmarks, National Historic Ships photography competition highlights from the past ten years, and the ‘reawakening’ of Alexandra Palace’s stunning theatre. The National Historic Ships exhibition is also accessible via Mozilla Hubs here – share the link with a friend and take a wander around together!

Alexandra Palace - Google Poly
National Historic Ships - Mozilla Hubs
The Landmark Trust - Google Poly

The Arcade is open and everyone is welcome.

To learn more, talk to us about putting on your virtual exhibition, or see what virtual galleries could do for you, please get in touch.

To learn more, please get in touch

Music Walk of Fame Inducts Amy Winehouse, Madness and Soul II Soul

The Music Walk of Fame is Camden’s newest heritage attraction and is fast becoming one of the hottest music accolades on the planet. This week three new bands and artists were inducted, with stones being laid in the Camden pavements alongside The Who’s inaugural award last November.

Coinciding with BBC 6 Music’s music week, also taking place in iconic Camden Town, ceremonies are being held for Madness, Amy Winehouse and Soul II Soul in the space of just five days.

Fans can join the Madness ‘nutty train’ – the iconic image from the cover of One Step Beyond, spend some time with much-missed idol Amy Winehouse, captured in a famous mural appropriately titled Fallen Angel by street artist Pegasus, and get Back to Life with 80s legends Soul II Soul.

To access all of these AR experiences, and those for The Who and the Music Walk of Fame’s Founding Stone, just download the free app and head to the stones.

Tutankhamun: A Spatial Archive

Arcade has teamed up with Oxford’s Griffith Institute, best known as the custodians of the meticulously assembled and astonishingly extensive archive from Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon’s famous discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the centenary of which will take place in 2022.

With the upcoming anniversary in mind, the Griffith Institute were keen to meet a technology partner who could offer a new, immersive way for people to engage with the archive, a challenge we were incredibly excited to take on. We were honoured to be given a tour of the archive, where we could not help but feel humbled by the passion and dedication of Carter and his team, evident across the thousands of documents, drawings and photographs contained in the archive.
Alex Book with the Griffith Institute’s Cat Warsi, examining just one of the thousands of documents in the archive

Following a successful application to the newly-established Creative Industries Seed Fund, set up by Oxford University’s TORCH, we have developed the first phase of an AR-driven experience that will help audiences to discover the tomb for themselves, walking in Carter’s footsteps as he undertook one of the most famous explorations of the 20th century. 

In partnership with the Griffith Institute, the goal is to create a publicly accessible experience that offers an entirely new way to bring people closer to the discovery of Tut’s tomb – all made possible by the great Creative Industries work by TORCH.

Oh, Snap! Giant diplodocus discovered on roof of NHM

Arcade Snap Lens of Dippy at the Natural History Museum

A huge dinosaur has popped up at the Natural History Museum…and it’s getting festive!

A new ‘Snap Lens’ has been created by London-based augmented reality experts Arcade that allows visitors to the city’s Natural History Museum to discover a giant, festive diplodocus that appears to have taken up residence on the museum’s roof. The new diplodocus is a scaled-up version of the plaster cast fossilised dinosaur that used to take centre stage in the museum’s famous Hintze Hall and was, from 1979 to 2017, the iconic emblem of the museum.

Snapchat users are able to access the specially developed Lens when they are close to the Natural History Museum – specifically within sight of the famous entrance on Cromwell Road in South Kensington. By selecting the Lens and pointing their phone at the building, they can see and hear the diplodocus, and enjoy the prehistoric wintery scene.

Snapchat Lenses are best known for augmenting users’ faces, but in April 2019 the company announced a new type of Lens known as ‘Landmarkers’ – capable of applying augmented reality content to buildings, not faces. Landmarkers are available to Snapchat’s community of creators for free, via its Lens Studio software. Only a small group of buildings globally are available as Landmarkers, and the Natural History Museum was added in August. This was of particular interest to Arcade, who specialise in using augmented reality to create more meaningful connections between people and the physical world around them.

“We couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the Natural History Museum Landmarker, and what better than bringing back Dippy, or perhaps Dippy’s big brother, as a festive treat?” said Alex Book, Arcade co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer.“We know it’s not a historically accurate model, but hopefully the museum and their wonderful array of palaeontology experts will forgive us. It is Christmas after all!”

The Lens is available for free to all members of the public via the Snapchat app. It was created by Arcade and is not endorsed by or related to the Natural History Museum in any way.

The Music Walk of Fame hits the streets of Camden

Image showcasing the music walk of fame tiles augmented with digital elements

On 19th November 2019, Camden Town, London officially became home to the global Music Walk of Fame. Designed as a new cultural attraction for London, The Music Walk of Fame will become a huge accolade for the music industry. Tuesday saw the augmented reality embedded Founding Stone and the first artist stone unveiled with a special ceremony attended by music legends.

After growing speculation in the weeks leading up to the launch, it was revealed that the recipient of the first ever Music Walk of Fame artist stone were none other than global music icons The Who. Flanked by a moped parade reflecting their famous mod-era heritage, surviving members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend accepted the accolade from Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, with the Arcade team present to celebrate the launch and demo the experience to assembled journalists and music royalty.

Arcade were selected as partners to design, create and provide the AR experiences that can be triggered by each stone. At launch, that involves a series of metallic rings that rise from the spinning ‘records’ that each stone is designed to evoke. The rings spin and whirl through the air, reflecting the light and surroundings before resolving as an interactive player through which visitors can enjoy a variety of exclusive film clips and music.

Over time, the AR experiences are expected to develop and push boundaries even further. Visitors to the Walk can expect unseen, rare and exclusive footage, 3D art, augmented reality performances and more. Stay tuned!

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A Vixen’s Tale launches!

Welsh National Opera Vixen Teaser Image

Arcade is delighted to bring augmented reality to opera with A Vixen’s Tale, a mixed physical and digital experience designed to immerse opera-goers new and old in the story of Leoš Janáček’s iconic The Cunning Little Vixen. The work was commissioned by Welsh National Opera (WNO), and launched at WNO’s Explore Opera Day on October 5th at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.

A Vixen’s Tale is a free experience that invites visitors of all ages to step into the world of The Cunning Little Vixen, where they can use augmented reality to experience a hidden world of enchanting narratives. Through playful interactions, immersive illustrations and an arresting soundscape set across five physical arches, visitors will walk with the opera’s Vixen and experience her story for themselves.


A Vixen’s Tale will run until November 3rd, with plans for it to tour nationally and internationally throughout 2020.