Augmented reality art exhibit on view at U-M Humanities Gallery

It’s your phone. The fun, the embarrassing, the world-in-the-fingertips we don’t miss. It is an almost impossible nemesis to look at and understand cartoons. Next to.

Another is the augmented reality photography exhibit, “Traces,” from Camila Magrane, on view at the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities Gallery through Feb.

While watching “Traces,” the mobile phone-or a tablet provided online-is a vessel to explore the full story of the picture on the picture walls. Using the AR Virtual Mutations application, Magrane brings life to life through the screen of your phone; still images become literal steps for animated stories.

“What interests me most about this method and the use of these mixed methods is that it creates a dialogue between the physical and the virtual,” he said. “The phone or the tablet is a bridge between those two worlds.”

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From digital prints to Polaroid film, the work is interdisciplinary and constantly jumps between digital and physical forms—both in its production and its reception.

The physical work should always be self-contained — it’s important and the beginning of the artistic process, says Magrane. He sees the physical part as the body of work, with the virtual experience serving as the emotions of that body.

“They’re like these digital things that exist physically but can have the thoughts and feelings that come from them, and those things just show up,” he said of his presentation.

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Amanda Krugliak, Institute for the Humanities curator, said, “Magrane’s paintings are related to the surrealist compositions of artists such as Salvador Dali, or Rene Magritte, which are based in the unconscious, like with dreams, emotions and anxiety.At the same time, the works refer to the graphic hyperrealism of modern video game design that continues to be part of Magrane’s artistic practice.

The simple process of collecting and moving images around ideas for Magrane’s stories, gives life to the work in a way that he enjoys.

“The work tells me where to go, so I just let the characters lead and follow them down the rabbit hole,” he said.

With “Traces,” the cell phone began to delve deeper into each piece of art; it is not a distraction, but a tool to see the full picture. It forces a break on the viewer; It is impossible to take a picture or send a text while you are using the app to view the work. Take a moment to think and fully take in what you are seeing.

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“One of the things I love about this technique is watching how people interact with it,” Magrane said. “It’s always different, it never gets old; there is a sense of wonder because it is not a traditional practice and is not often seen.

The Institute for Humanities Gallery (202 S. Thayer St.) is free and open to the public.

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