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Myths & Monsters
By Victoria Art Gallery

CREATOR'S STATEMENT

Oh oh, story book monsters are on the loose in Bath! Monster hunters needed!

Myths & Monsters is a family-friendly exhibition running at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, from 27th November 2021 - 27th February 2022. It is a continuation of the Here Be Dragons extravaganza, which broke attendance records for the Victoria Art Gallery in 2017. Myths & Monsters once again links the worlds of literature, art and myth with some of the very best (and worst) you could expect to meet. Star contributors range from Axel Scheffler to Michael Foreman, and from Cressida Cowell to Victoria Topping. A winter full of fright and frolics that make the fun stand up on the back of your neck, this exhibition is guest curated by John and Gill McLay, founders of Bath Children’s Literature Festival.

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Summary

  • As part of the wider campaign for Myths & Monsters, we led on an immersive trail across Bath. Our audience is mainly families and children, as well as nostalgic audiences who may remember the characters from childhood.

  • The trail aims to immerse the people of Bath in a fun alternate reality. The campaign centred around the concept that story book monsters are on the loose in Bath, having escaped from the pages of literature. Building an AR trail for Myths & Monsters is therefore fitting: unlike VR which ‘cocoons’ users in alternate worlds, AR is more about opening our eyes to the wider possibilities of our own seemingly ordinary world.​ While having fun with the ability to have recognisable literary monsters and mythological beasts come alive and roam the streets of Bath before our eyes, the use of AR also provides an educational role tied to myth-making: myths are ingrained into our everyday lives, in the stories we tell ourselves and others; a technology like AR is a way of visualising this concept, allowing users to literally see myths as part of the world. This ‘seeing’ of myths through AR is used throughout the immersive trail to also reveal trivia about these characters as they come to life.

  • The Myths & Monsters AR trail was designed and produced by Matthew Freeman and Bethany Wakefield.

Our AR trail begins on the Victoria Art Gallery website, where there is a video of four animated character posters, one for each monster on the trail: The Iron Man, the Gargoyle, the Cellar Dweller, and the Gruffalo.

 

The aim of the posters is to provide the clues as to the whereabouts of the escaped monsters in Bath, which are lurking in book shop windows around Bath. The posters are designed to convey the worlds of fiction and reality distorting, glitching between hand-drawn animation and real-world photography. Wider promotion for the immersive trail was supported across social media, with the following visuals produced.

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The website points people to the location of the monsters, each lurking on posters in shop windows: Roman Baths Book Shop, Waterstones, Topping Book Shop, and the Victoria Art Gallery. When people discover the below posters in shop windows, they scan a QR code with their phone to see the poster come to life.

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When scanned, the QR codes trigger the launch of the below AR video content, bringing the posters to life.

Finally, when people arrive at the Victoria Art Gallery they are met the with the below AR filter. Upon scanning the QR code, an Instagram/Facebook experience pops up, revealing some of the best (and worst!) monsters and mythological beasts you could expect to meet. Users swipe between a motley crew of characters, reading famous quotes and learning trivia, before choosing their favourite and posting selfies to social media.

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In the news...

Learn more about our Myths & Monsters AR trail by reading The Bath Magazine's interview with Dr Matthew Freeman. Click below to read the full interview online.

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