Old Operating Theatre Goes Immersive

AR hologram of doctor

The Old Operating Theatre, as Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre, has some astonishing stories to tell. Standing in the space, you can almost hear the echoes of 19th century surgeons carrying out amputations with no anaesthetic as dozens of smoking students shouted their approval or concern.

The museum is open to the public near London Bridge and offers a chance to step back through history – but now gives visitors an opportunity to hear these stories from one of the surgeons themselves, thanks to the magic of augmented reality.

Visitors to the Old Op can use an app to meet Mr Benjamin Travers, a renowned British surgeon who was appointed as lead demonstrator at Old St Thomas’ Hospital and was in charge when the women’s operating theatre was created.

Mr Travers appears as an AR hologram and welcomes visitors to the operating theatre, assuming them to be medical students late for his latest class. Across three short interactions he explains the surgery of Mrs Elizabeth Raigen, a patient whose injuries required her leg to be amputated below the knee, a procedure described at the time in The Lancet, one of the oldest medical journals in the world. Hear all about this fascinating – if slightly gruesome – surgery, from the surgeon himself!

Mr Travers augmented reality experience is live at The Old Operating Theatre now, and is free with admission. Book your museum ticket here.

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Munch Named As Finalist In Digital Catapult Awards

We are thrilled that MunchMunch, the immersive arts platform for schools, has been nominated as one of three finalists in the ‘Responsible & Ethical Tech Pioneer’ category at the Digital Catapult Awards 2021.

Digital Catapult is the UK’s leading advanced digital technology centre, and one of the loudest and most important voices in supporting and promoting the UK tech industry. They identified Arcade as a future leader as early as 2018, appointing us to their Augmentor programme that year, and have continued to be supportive advocates for us and the entire immersive landscape in the UK.

In early 2020 we were invited to pitch for an incredibly exciting project in which the winning SME would partner with Digital Catapult and Norway’s Munch Museum to create a new immersive tool for schools inspired by the works and artistic philosophies of iconic artist Edvard Munch.

The result was MunchMunch, a fun, exciting creative platform designed for kids aged 7-11 to express themselves in entirely new ways. With MunchMunch, they can take their creations from 2D paper into 3D augmented reality and engage with the physical spaces around them in ways that, we think, Edvard Munch himself would have approved.

The awards ceremony is on November 17th, and you can find out more about the Digital Catapult Awards here.

Read The Case Study

The Vixen Returns!

A Vixen’s Tale, the award-winning immersive experience created for Welsh National Opera, has been adapted for installation at ALTASH, a digital festival in Ashford, Kent, curated by tech-oriented dance company AΦE.

A Vixen’s Tale was originally installed at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, but now our plucky Vixen and her friends find themselves appearing in a series of shop windows. Audiences can scan a series of QR codes and access scenes from the experience via Instagram filters. The result is a completely fresh take on A Vixen’s Tale, with the same unmistakable illustrations and animations from the wonderful Xavier Segers, but presented in an entirely new way.

You can try all four of the ‘seasons’ of A Vixen’s Tale for yourself by scanning the QR codes or tapping the images below:

SPRING

SUMMER

AUTUMN

WINTER

MunchMunch added to Digital Catapult Success Stories

MunchMunch, the fun, innovative creativity tool that celebrates the artistic philosophies of Edvard Munch, was developed by Arcade in partnership with MUNCH and Digital Catapult. Ahead of its launch later this year, Digital Catapult – the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre – has added a comprehensive case study to its ‘Success Stories’ pages.

Read the case study here, or to find out more and see what immersive technologies can do for you, please get in touch.

MunchMunch shortlisted for Art Explora Award

MunchMunch, the innovative creativity platform for school children, has been shortlisted as one of 30 potential winners of the hugely prestigious Art Explora Award.

Created in partnership with Oslo’s Munch Museum and Digital Catapult, MunchMunch is a creative and entertaining mobile application for Norwegian school children, aged between 9-11. It will inspire students to engage with Munch’s unique way of thinking and creating, by combining analogue and digital elements. The experience will consist of a digital tutorial, followed by an analogue drawing exercise. By transferring the drawing into an AR view, the user is able to place the drawing in their own surroundings and to continue working on its expressions with effects only made possible by digital means.

The award ceremony and announcement of the winning projects will take place on December 3rd. Learn more about Art Explora and tune in for the awards here: https://artexplora.org/en/the-2020-edition-of-the-art-explora-academie-des-beaux-arts-european-award/

The Vixen Wins!

A Vixen's Tale Poster

Congratulations to the Vixen’s Tale team and our client Welsh National Opera, on picking up a Bronze award in the highly competitive and prestigious Creativepool Annual 2020! Entered into the ‘Wave’ category for innovation, the judges loved A Vixen’s Tale‘s mixed physical and digital experience, and the way the augmented reality presented such an expected face for opera.

A Vixen’s Tale launched to the public in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff late last year. During its first three weeks the installation welcomed 5,939 recorded visitors during the opening hours alone, with over 80% of groups including younger audiences – a key metric of success for WNO.

A Vixen’s Tale has been shortlisted for several awards, and was selected for inclusion in the Creative Review Annual as well as Creativepool’s Annual 2020.

“We are so proud of our little Vixen,” said Simon Hobbs, Arcade Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer, “she just keeps going and going and we’re praying she has the chance to get out into the world again soon.”

A Vixen’s Tale was due to be installed at London’s Southbank Centre in May and potentially embark on an international tour, but plans have had to be put on ice for now because of the pandemic.

The win for A Vixen’s Tale follows success at Creativepool in 2019, where Arcade won with Roxy the Ranger, created for SEA LIFE’s London Aquarium.

Read more about A Vixen’s Tale here, and SEA LIFE’s Roxy here.

To find out more about Arcade and our award-winning work, please get in contact.

Arcade Creative Pool Awards
Arcade's 'Roxy the Ranger', created for SEA LIFE's London Aquarium, won at Creativepool in 2019

Arcade awarded Immersive Storytelling Fellowship by StoryFutures and UK Parliament

We are thrilled to announce that Arcade is one of five industry-leading SMEs to be awarded an Immersive Storytelling Fellowship by StoryFutures, the Creative Cluster that creates and helps fund R&D projects with creative businesses in the Gateway Cluster and Greater London.

Jon Meggitt, Arcade CEO, takes on the role of Fellow on a hugely exciting project that sees Arcade partner with Royal Holloway academics and UK Parliament to immerse audiences in the rich historical and contemporary narratives that make Parliament so important to today’s society.

The overarching goal is to make Parliament feel relevant to audiences of all kinds, creating meaningful connections with its history and ongoing activity. To do so, we will create a ‘Spatial Story Platform’, a new way of using immersive technology to serve contextual, multi-vocal stories that are tailored to the user, whoever they are and whatever their interests.

Jon Meggitt
Jon Meggitt, Arcade CEO & Immersive Storytelling Fellow

Using the majestic Westminster Hall as our physical canvas, we will create a visitor experience that offers a personalised interactive tour through hundreds of the historical and contemporary stories that have defined the UK Parliament. Many will include multiple perspectives on the same narrative and invite the user to make up their own mind about which side of the debate they would have supported.

Artist's impression of the Westminster Hall experience

In addition to physical visitors to Parliament, it is important for the experience to foster this stronger sense of connection amongst those who are unable to reach Parliament for physical, economic or social reasons so we will also create a remote experience, built around a digital twin of Westminster Hall. Users can virtually place the hall in the physical space around them, before ‘stepping inside’ and enjoying a similar experience to physical visitors, but from anywhere in the country or, indeed, the world.

“It is a huge honour to accept this Fellowship,” said Jon, “and we are thrilled to be working with such prestigious institutions as StoryFutures, Royal Holloway and, in particular, UK Parliament. The challenge from an R&D perspective is pretty huge, but that’s what make this so exciting. It’s an opportunity to try and do something completely new, with permission to fail. But of course we’ll be doing everything we can to succeed!”

Read the full StoryFutures press release here.

Arcade x MUNCH: a Digital Catapult Collaboration

ARCADE, MUNCH AND DIGITAL CATAPULT ANNOUNCE INTERNATIONAL PROJECT

In the weeks prior to full lockdown, we were busy finalising the details of a secret and incredibly exciting project run by Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital innovation centre. After several months of feverish (and entirely socially distanced) collaboration, we can now finally announce what we’ve been up to!

We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with MUNCH, the Oslo-based museum that celebrates the life and works of Norway’s iconic artist, Edvard Munch.

Together we are developing an AR creativity platform for schools that brings Munch’s creative philosophies into the modern era, enabling users to place, edit and share their Munch-inspired works in locations of their choosing across the physical world.

The platform starts with pen and paper but then flips into AR, offering a contemporary, innovative version of the same artistic principles that Munch himself followed, designed to inspire creativity in schools across Norway and potentially beyond.

Arcade’s Alex Book said, “During our research for this incredible project we discovered that Arcade shares one of Edvard Munch’s core philosophies, of using creativity to connect people to place. Our mediums may differ, but that link was just one reason that we were so thrilled to partner with MUNCH and Digital Catapult to bring this idea to life.”

“Kids today are more technically savvy than ever,” added Gerd-Elise Mørland, MUNCH Director of Learning, “and we want to address this development by creating an experience that allows its young users to explore creative expression with methods familiar to their digital lives. We are so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with both Digital Catapult and Arcade on this inspiring project, which is generously supported by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, Norway.”

Jeremy Silver, Digital Catapult CEO, said, “This project addresses the challenges of how to bring a wider sense of Edvard Munch’s work and ideas directly to audiences and to do so outside of the traditional bounds of a museum space; that has become even more meaningful during the course of the project. We’re thrilled to be working with MUNCH and one of the UK’s leading creative mixed reality studios, Arcade, and we look forward to seeing the wider impact of this cutting-edge collaboration.”

The app is currently being user-tested with groups of students in Norway and development work will continue over the summer. MUNCH is opening a new museum in autumn 2020 with the app ready for download for pilot-groups around the same time.

Read the full press release from Digital Catapult here.

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

A Vixen’s Tale celebrated in Creative Review 2020 Annual!

A Vixen’s Tale, the mixed reality immersive experience created for Welsh National Opera, has been honoured in Creative Review’s prestigious awards publication, The Annual 2020, one of the creative industry’s most valued awards. We are thrilled to be included in this “showcase of the year’s best work across advertising, design, digital, gaming and more” alongside big-hitting brands like IKEA, Spotify, Channel 4, Nike, The Guardian, KFC, Lacoste, BBC and Adidas, and world-leading agencies such as Mother, Droga 5, TBWA and Wieden + Kennedy.

Designed to immerse opera-goers new and old in the story of Leoš Janáček’s iconic The Cunning Little Vixen, A Vixen’s Tale originally launched Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff in October 2019. During its hugely successful month-long installation, it welcomed 5,939 recorded visitors, with over 80% of groups including younger audiences – a key metric of success for WNO.

A Vixen’s Tale has continued to tour, with the most recent installation at London’s South Bank sadly postponed due to the Coronavirus. Fingers crossed, she’ll be back soon!

Read all about it on Creative Review here or click below to see how we designed the experience to help WNO challenge perceptions of opera and connect with an entirely new audience.

Learn more about connecting with new audiences via immersive arts