History is male, future is female
At the University of Groningen, Netherlands, there is a gallery honouring all professors teaching there over the last 400 years. This shows great respect towards all the scholars – but there was actually only one problem: Amongst the 150 men were only 2 women! Time for change!
When the two professors, Mineke Bosch and Mineke van Essen had a meeting with Jantine Wijnja – who is well aware of the possibilities of Augmented Reality – AR seemed the perfect way to address this issue. Besides a lobby for more women on the walls, this request was enhanced by turning the walls into an interactive clickable portrait gallery in which 50 of the men were replaced by portraits of women. The take-over expanded beyond just the portrait gallery. There are appearances of female professors all over the building, along with the stories of their scientific careers.
Dutch new media (AR) Artist Sander Veenhof joined the project initiators and developed a contemporary exhibition highlighting the many female professors currently active at the university. The virtual appearances can now be viewed by opening the Junaio channel “Augmented illustra” inside the university. “Thanks to AR, we adjusted the balance. And we created a lot of portrait pop-up spots throughout the building.”, says Sander Veenhof. “Technically, it was quite a challenge. The Junaio channel switches between various modes of tracking and positioning. There’s 2-D tracking of the portraits, 3-D tracking of building elements such as the balcony and there’s the ‘relative’ positioning of professors in a circle around the viewer. Photographers Ewoud Rooks Ronald Zijlstra spend a whole day taking pictures of all the professors at the required spots to make sure the lighting would be correct. The cut-out 2-D photos are blending into the 3-D environment as realistic as possible.”