Explore Anthropocene through Augmented Reality

Visitors to the Anthropocene exhibition can explore the impact of human activity on Earth at a whole new level, thanks to three unique augmented reality (AR) installations by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

Photograph: Jim Panou, courtesy of Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018

One of these is President Kenyatta’s Tusk Pile. On April 30, 2016, Africa’s largest-ever destruction of illicit ivory took place in Nairobi National Park, Kenya. 11 pyres comprised of 105 tonnes of confiscated elephant tusks and 1.35 tonnes of rhinoceros horn were publicly incinerated as a clarion call to halt all trade in ivory and rhino horn, while also bringing greater awareness to the threat both African elephants and rhinos face from illegal poaching. Altogether, the burned ivory and rhinoceros horn was estimated to be worth more than $100 million. The Anthropocene team was the only group to capture the largest of the tusk pyres, President Kenyatta's pile, through a process called photogrammetry, where thousands of high-resolution photographs of an object or scene are taken from 360 degrees, in order to create an AR photorealistic virtual sculpture. The team took over 2,500 photographs that were then seamlessly stitched together by the experts at AVARA Media to create a 3D replica that enable visitors, using the AVARA app, to experience this historic moment as if they were actually at the site.

Photograph: Jim Panou, courtesy of Anthropocene Films Inc. © 2018

The other two AR installations feature Big Lonely Doug, the second largest Douglas fir in Canada, standing in the middle of a clear-cut on the western coast of Vancouver Island; and the world’s last male northern white rhino, Sudan, an international icon for the anti-poaching movement who died of natural causes in the spring of this year.  

These three augmented reality experiences push new media technology and are of an unprecedented scale and quality.

Get ready for your visit by downloading the AVARA Media app in advance from the Apple App Store or from Google Play. Not bringing your mobile device with you? Don’t worry, pre-configured tablets are available in the exhibition space to allow you to experience these three AR installations.

The artists wish to thank TELUS for its financial support in the creation of these AR experiences and for furnishing the exhibition with tablets for visitors’ use.

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