New York's reality augmented thanks to the EPFL + ECAL Lab



For the first time, EPFL is the guest of the renowned Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York. Throughout more than 500 square meters, the EPFL + ECAL Lab will display its new works in augmented reality, where physical objects and digital representations are combined.

The EPFL + ECAL Lab has adopted an unmistakable New York accent evidenced by its partnership with Parsons the New School for Design, the setup of an installation for a major brand's Showroom in Soho and last but not least, a major exhibition in an authentic temple of digital culture: the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, which is to take place in this very month of February. This is a first for a Swiss institution. The place of honor goes to the Gimme More project, the Americanized version of the Give Me More exhibition, awarded the DMY International Design Festival prize in Berlin. From February 21 through March 2, 2013, the EPFL + ECAL Lab will be exposing exceptional works carried out by, among others, the Designers Cem Sever, Thibault Brevet, Liron Kroll and Thomas Eberwein.

Through the magic of technology, Gimme More’s premise is to transform simple everyday objects into a source of meaning and basis for a story. Messages revealed by our bodies, a collection of memories that unfold fragments from the past and our identity comes upon new sceneries. These installations embody the ambition of the EPFL + ECAL Lab: to give objects, through augmented reality, the ability to tell stories of their own. They are based on the scientific work made by the Computer Vision Laboratory at EPFL, a pioneer in the field of computer vision.

After five years of exploring the potential of augmented reality, the EPFL + ECAL Lab has gained international reputation in this field: it was awarded the Berlin international festival price in 2010 and, most importantly, it produced the academic publication that defines the narrative basis of augmented reality during the2011 International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality.

As for New York audiences, they have been captivated by this novel field's potential in art, marketing, communication and event planning. "Three days after sending the first announcement, we had to close the registrations for the opening event, despite the size of the gallery," says Nicolas Henchoz, Director of the EPFL + ECAL Lab. Also, it is important to point out the strong local support that the Laboratory has received, with the participation of SoftLab Studio, Pentagram -for the graphic identity- and Laetitia Wolff, exhibition curator. The same can be said of the Swiss residents in the United States. Presence Switzerland, Pro Helvetia, Swissnex San Francisco and Boston as well as the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York have also contributed to the realization of this project.


Gimme More
February 22 to March 2, 2013
Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, 540 West 21st Street, New York
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 12 noon till 6pm

Author: Nicolas Henchoz / Lionel Pousaz

Source: EPFL