institution: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
category: Exhibition Media or Experience
Commissioned by The Space, which is supported by the BBC and Arts Council England, the web app ‘Sculpture Cam’ allows visitors to Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) to experience and interact with sculptures from literally every angle, and then create, save and share 3D animations across social media.
Made with Dutch interactive design studio Moniker, ‘Sculpture Cam’ is designed to give visitors to the UK’s leading sculpture park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, particularly families and young people, a new way to experience sculpture and to grow the Park’s digital offering.
YSP’s brief to Moniker was to create something that provides a unique experience for visitors and adds to the range of ways people can access and understand the Park. We wanted to create something that bridges the physical and digital experience of the Park, using technology in an innovative and surprising way to engage, inform and delight.
The team at Moniker looked at existing behaviour for the inspiration behind ‘Sculpture Cam’. They realised that visitors to the Park have their phones with them at all times and witnessed visitors snapping away during their visit. ‘Sculpture Cam’ embraces this behaviour but goes on to challenge visitors to look at the sculptures in a different and more precise way, and to be in direct dialogue with each sculpture featured.
Using photogrammetry – the science of making measurements from photographs – the team worked with a local specialist to create 3D scans of 10 sculptures around the Park, including works by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Sophie Ryder. Each scan comprises 120 silhouettes which form a 360-degree rotation.
Visitors simply go to sculpture.cam on their phone or tablet once they get to the Park and hunt for the sculptures using the GPS prompts provided. Once they find the sculpture, they are presented with one of the silhouettes of the artwork which they must try and capture precisely using their camera.
On submitting an image, they are rewarded with a fun fact about the artist behind the sculpture and given the option to share an animated gif, video or still image on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
‘Sculpture Cam’ celebrates user-generated photography and the diversity of quality, colour and other effects that mobile phones can generate. The same sculpture is captured by different people in changing light, weather and seasons – there is not one perfect representation but many impressions.
An important part of ‘Sculpture Cam’ is the quality of the collective effort. Every photo submitted helps to create a more beautiful animation of each sculpture and the result is stronger and richer than something one single person would be able to achieve.
We chose to create a web-based app to remove the perceived barrier of having to download software to take part. User testing and focus groups with members and family groups helped us develop the app throughout 2017 and we adapted elements of the user journey based on findings from these experiments.
‘Sculpture Cam’ was released in beta mode to the public in December 2017. So far over 400 users have contributed images to the project and over 1,000 people have visited the website. One user said of the experience: “we had a great afternoon finding the sculptures and adding our photos.”
A full launch is planned for spring/summer 2018 – the peak visitor time at YSP – including a promotional animation made by Dice Productions (currently still in production – available to watch at https://vimeo.com/258828150/63f5873a93) that will be seeded across online networks to raise awareness of ‘Sculpture Cam’ within target groups. We are looking at the potential of including more sculptures in the app in the future and at working with external partners to roll out ‘Sculpture Cam’ further afield.