When I first tried VR – an original Oculus developer headset at a developer conference – I thought it might be a great learning tool that could bring slices of the real world to everyone . Yes, shuffling things with virtual sabers can be fun, but it’s also important to use technology as a tool that makes the world a better place.
This is exactly what The Stolen Art Gallery does, and it does it very well.
The stolen art gallery: what is it?
Since it’s not a shooter or other common type of VR game, it’s worth talking about what The Stolen Art Gallery is.
There have been hundreds of paintings that have been stolen over the years, and artists like Rembrandt and Manet have created beautiful works that the world will probably never see again.
The folks at Compass UOL recreated these works digitally and built a small interactive gallery to display them. Thoughtful additions, like the ability to see them with friends or share your experience via social media, make everything a little more fun.
Of course, any gallery exhibition must also tell us more about the work on display. In The Stolen Art Gallery, each painting comes with an information panel that tells you who the artist was, the medium, the year it was created, and a description of the work itself.
In addition, you can also learn more about the artist and the work through a virtual tour guide. It looks a lot like what you would find in a physical art gallery.
The Stolen Art Gallery: What I Loved
Granted, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of fine art. I appreciate them, and a trip to the National Gallery or the Freer Gallery of Art is a great way to spend a summer Saturday, but I don’t live and breathe fine art the way many others do. . That’s not to say I can’t enjoy and appreciate a beautiful piece of artwork or the great way it’s presented.
And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what I love about The Stolen Gallery. I had no idea there were great stolen and unrecovered works out there, and I was eager to find out more about them. The Android app is great and just as informative as the Quest version, but the extra immersion added by virtual reality made this app an instant favourite.
The controls add a lot to the experience. Because it’s VR, you literally touch things with a virtual finger, and learning about a painting is as easy as pressing the info button or button to hear the presenter tell you all about the job .
Additional features, such as aerial drawing or social sharing, are easily accessible by tapping your virtual wristwatch and the corresponding icon. There is no user manual or tutorial because you really don’t need it. Everything is laid out in a way that is easy to understand and use, and I think that’s the mark of a great app.
The Stolen Art Gallery: a great accessibility tool
I am very lucky with my disability. Yes, I wish I could walk, run and play softball like I used to, but being in a wheelchair doesn’t stop me from having a good life because I have great people helping me. Not everyone is so lucky.
Some people are forced to be left behind and alone because they don’t have such a big support network, and for them, virtual reality can be a way to live a little. It’s hard for anyone to imagine what life can be like being stuck at home; Doing it for six months to avoid a global pandemic brought out the worst in many of us, because no one likes being left out of life.
This is the best thing about The Stolen Art Gallery: it can allow someone who could never see fine art in a gallery to find a way to do so. The fact that these are the rarest works because they have been removed from the art world is also a bonus.
I challenge all tech companies to build something like The Stolen Art Gallery. Compass UOL is tiny compared to giants like Google, Facebook, or Apple, but they’ve done an amazing job here. We need more like this.
The Stolen Art Gallery: What I didn’t like
There are two things I didn’t like about the app, but one of them completely eludes the developers.
We’ll start there – Meta’s Quest’s “room” setup sucks for anyone who doesn’t have a full range of motion. Defining the boundaries is next to impossible if you can’t rotate a full 360 degrees; the headset seems to constantly forget the height from the ground you set, and even if everything works and you set it up, you’ll probably run into instances where apps go haywire and ignore everything until you restart them.
It would be easy to blame every app I’ve tried, but Occam’s Razor tells me that the single point of failure – the Quest 2’s operating system and configuration – is likely the culprit.
In any case, I encountered parts of The Stolen Gallery app where I wish I could have stood up and tapped on something that was just out of reach.
The second thing is that I want After! The Stolen Art Gallery features five lost works displayed in stunning detail, and this is the first time I’ve actually thought of a metaverse. Because of how the app piqued my interest, I discovered that there are hundreds of other paintings that have been stolen or lost, and I would love to see as many of them as possible.
The Stolen Art Gallery: Should it be installed?
The Stolen Art Gallery can be installed and enjoyed for free from Google Play, the Oculus Store (although it’s still an open beta at this time), and the Apple App Store. Apple. Of course, the VR version offers the best experience but you don’t need a VR headset to check it out.
Unless you are an art historian, you will be to learn something. Even then, you can see masterpieces you otherwise wouldn’t have seen, and they’re all in high definition right before your eyes.
If you can’t manage to get out and see a “real” art gallery, trust me when I say it’s almost as good. In addition to everything I said above, know that an hour at The Stolen Gallery is a great way to spend your next free Saturday.