06 Nov 2023
The island of Ireland’s first augmented reality (AR) digital sculpture trail has opened at Hillsborough Forest in County Down.
Showcasing 10 large-scale sculptures created by artists from across the world, the digital sculpture trail is linked to a mobile app which leads visitors on a journey through Hillsborough Forest. As they approach each sculpture, the app calls up virtual and augmented reality features allowing visitors to discover more about each piece of art and its artist. A special ‘enhance me’ feature transports them into another world.
The trail, which is almost two kilometres long, features an eclectic mix of sculptures from giant animals and abstract shapes to a Big Foot – part of the critically acclaimed Big Foot family of sculptures by Frech-Israeli artist Idan Zareski.
New York award-winning digital artist, Marjan Moghaddam, created two of the augmented reality sculptures, called The Poet and Magic Garden. She said: “Art is ever evolving and adapting as we artists and animators take inspiration from societal changes. I hope that the trail entertains, educates, amuses, challenges and stimulates visitors in the months and years ahead, for that is what art should do.”
Each sculpture invites visitors to interact with it in a different way.
Power Up, a giant lampshade, is a motion sculpture at which users can power LED lights by moving pedals and hand cranks. A climb inside Rusty the Fox enables visitors to peek out through his eyes, while at the Unit of Life each side of the cube is engraved with Fibonacci-related shapes to be discovered.
Big Foot, Hillsborough Digital Sculpture Trail.
Once the trail is completed, the app unlocks special discounts from cafes and restaurants in the picturesque Georgian village of Hillsborough.
Hillsborough Forest is a 200-acre walkers delight which features a lake that is a forest wildlife sanctuary. It’s just a few minutes from Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, one of Northern Ireland’s top attractions.
The castle is the official residence of the UK Royal family when they visit Northern Ireland and it and its exquisite gardens are open to the public. Guided tours are available of the grand Throne Room, State Drawing Room, Lady Grey's Study, State Dining Room, Red Room and Stair Hall. The tours tell stories of celebration, diplomacy and historic negotiations that took place within the castle’s walls.
Outside, ornamental lawns, a Walled Garden, a Lost Garden, meandering waterways and picturesque glens offer a great place for a leisurely stroll.
Power Up, Hillsborough Digital Sculpture Trail.
Unit of Life, Hillsborough Digital Sculpture Trail.
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