Interactive Campaign Matches People’s Facial Expressions with Museum Works of Art

Interactive Campaign Matches People’s Facial Expressions with Museum Works of Art

Rijks Emotions aggregates emotional data and pairs you with a similar painting of the past

Simone Spilka
  • 14 november 2014

Have you ever walked through an art gallery intrigued by the faces in the paintings staring back at you? Once, a favorite past time was spending hours browsing through various rooms at a museum but the immediacy of apps such as Instagram and Vine have consequently shortened attention spans. In the digital age, we feel fulfilled by the immediate gratification of a snapshot viewed on our smartphones. Using technology, a group of four students aim to reclaim the art-viewing experience, particularly for their younger counterparts.

To make museums more relevant to the viewers, the Rijks Emotions project uses facial-recognition API to match our own snapshots with paintings of the past. As a part of the Digital Data Strategy Program at Hyper Island, the students developed a digital campaign prototype for Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. The website’s technology renders the user’s data including age, gender and facial expression and pairs it to a piece of art from the museum with the same qualities.

The highly-personalized recognition offers an interactive and immersive viewing experience through a modern-day lens. Rijks Emotions imagines the interactive advertising as a billboard to be displayed downtown Amsterdam, where users can have their photo taken and matched with a painting from the museum instantaneously.

The concept was inspired by the decline of young people’s attendance and interest at museums; project creators wanted to present the artwork within the context of everyday life. As a result, the technology offers a visual representation of the emotional similarities between today’s faces and the artists, royalty and soldier’s faces of the past. The people – real or fictional – depicted on museum walls are seemingly a lot more alike to our present day selves that we might imagine.

Rijks Emotions

+data analysis

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