Kids Take Over Olafur Eliasson's Interactive Artwork Earth Speakr
Earth Speakr launches today, inviting kids across the world to collectively create an artwork by speaking up for the future of our planet.
The artwork is created and developed by artist Olafur Eliasson, with the creative and technical cooperation of AKQA, and includes a free app on iOS and Android and a website at www.earthspeakr.art. Through augmented reality, kids can animate their environment and speak up for their local surroundings and the planet.
At earthspeakr, everyone can create AR collections of messages – so-called ‘Loud Speakrs’ – encouraging others to listen to what kids have to say, too.
The predominantly digital artwork results from the collaboration between Eliasson’s studio and a team including kids, researchers, and other specialists. Earth Speakr is available in the 24 official languages of the European Union and was created on the occasion of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU 2020. The artwork is funded by the Foreign Federal Office and realised in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut. Earth Speakr has also partnered with a network of museums, libraries, and educational institutions, such as the Goethe-Institut, to share the artwork online and in person when and where possible in times of social distancing.
Olafur Eliasson said: “Earth Speakr is a collective artwork that invites kids to be artists. What Earth Speakr will become depends on the Earth Speakrs – their creativity and imagination. The artwork is made up of their thoughts and visions, concerns and hopes. What they create can be playful and whimsical, serious or poetic. There is no right or wrong, and it is easy for everyone to take part. Earth Speakr invites kids to speak their hearts and minds and participate in shaping our world and the planet, today and in the future.”
Pushing the boundaries of AR
To make interaction with the artwork as compelling as possible, the Earth Speakr app uses the latest versions of Apple’s ARKit and TrueDepth API. On other devices, including Android operating systems, Earth Speakr uses ARCore and Hyprface SDK, allowing for real-time motion capture. This technology makes it possible to capture accurate movements of users’ eyes, mouth, and facial expressions, and apply these emotive movements to a 3D-animation. With the resulting depth data, it’s possible to apply the animation to real objects and achieve a smooth coupling with natural textures, lighting, and reflections, altogether making an experience of other messages in AR highly relatable and recognisable.
AKQA chief creative officer Peter Lund said: ”We aim to give children the untethered artistic freedom to breathe life into any in-animate object. To achieve this, we had to combat the limits of augmented reality, blending together real-life textures and augmented face features in search of the magical moment where the objects actually comes to life in front of your eyes.”
From 1st July 2020, kids’ messages will appear on Earth Speakr’s virtual map, and Loud Speakrs can be viewed in AR at prominent locations across the EU. To find out more, download the Earth Speakr app from Google Play or App Store, visit the website and @earthspeakr on social media.