Snapchat and Jeff Koons Collaborate on Augmented Reality Art Project
Wait, when did they put that giant metal rabbit under the Eiffel Tower?
If you receive photos of the provocative artist Jeff Koons’s sculptures looming under and over international landmarks, don’t be alarmed: It’s just augmented reality. Snapchat has partnered with Mr. Koons to allow users to project his sculptures in specific sites around the world — including in Central Park in New York, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and on the Champ de Mars in Paris.
The project, part of Snapchat’s Lens feature that is available starting on Tuesday, lets users animate photos and videos — the app’s dancing hot dog, for instance, which used the technology, has become a viral sensation. Mr. Koons’s sculptures will be Snapchat’s first site-specific lenses, and will only be able to be activated within about 1,000 feet of a location.
“The lenses are an example of the way Snapchat is trying to remove friction from the creative process,” Evan Spiegel, founder and chief executive of Snapchat, said at a news conference at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Tuesday. “The fact we can bring these ginormous sculptures anywhere in the world is just the beginning of inspiring young people all over the world to create with our cameras.”
Users would be able to take photos of themselves with famous Koons sculptures — like “Balloon Dog” (in front of which Jay-Z performed on a recent tour), “Rabbit” and “Play-Doh.” Some of their locations also include Millennium Park in Chicago, the National Mall in Washington, the Venice Boardwalk in Los Angeles, Hyde Park in London and Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. The sculptures would appear to be about three stories tall.
Over the last year, Mr. Koons has dabbled in designing handbags and snowboards; last year he created a special edition smartphone case for Google. He praised Snapchat in an interview with i-D this year: “I think it’s wonderful that people can, you know, pick up a phone and feel the freedom of — like Snapchat — making something that is aesthetically and emotionally pleasing, and fun, and to just feel that experience.”
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