Fans of the late singer David Bowie will soon be able to experience his extraordinary life, work, and legacy through the digital technology of augmented and virtual reality. The record-breaking museum exhibition, David Bowie Is, is being turned into an ‘augmented and virtual reality tour’ that brings the exhibition to viewers around the world through an application on their smartphones.
The augmented reality application of the David Bowie Is exhibition will be released for iOS and Android platforms on January 8th, 2019, to mark what would have been Bowie’s 72nd birthday, with the virtual reality version to be released at a later date with final additions being made by the VR company involved.
David Bowie was one of the most iconic singer-songwriters of the 20th century. His endlessly innovative music gained him artistic acclaim, commercial success, and worldwide stardom. In a music career that spanned 5 decades, Bowie pushed the boundaries of style and content, his unconventional approach always searching for new modes of creative expression.
Among Bowie’s, best-known albums were The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), Diamond Dogs (1974), and Heroes (1977). Bowie’s ever-evolving image manifested itself in a host of alter egos – from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to the Thin White Duke.
The David Bowie Is exhibition toured 12 cities over 5 years – starting at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in March 2013 and ending at the Brooklyn Museum in July 2018 – and drew over 2 million visitors worldwide. It holds the record as the most-visited exhibition ever at the V&A Museum. Bowie’s death in 2016, while the exhibition was on tour, became a further draw factor for exhibition-goers, who viewed it as a grand tribute to the much-loved superstar.
David Bowie Has featured approximately 500 objects comprised of the superstar’s costumes, photographs, sketches, notes, handwritten lyrics, and original works of art music videos, multimedia installations, against a specially curated soundscape of Bowie’s music. The exhibition, organized by the V&A Museum, was made up of objects from Bowie’s personal archive.
An augmented and virtual reality application is a natural next step for the David Bowie Is exhibition. It will allow users to explore the exhibition at their own leisure and view objects closely, without the obstruction of crowds or gallery cordons. Displayed objects will be reproduced digitally in high-resolution 3D scans, to invite the user to view each object in great detail, without having to leave the sphere of their own phones.
The AR/ VR version of the David Bowie Is exhibition will add 60 new items not previously displayed in the museum tour. This one-of-a-kind digital experience will be offered in nine different languages, to reach a global audience. Besides delighting millions of Bowie fans worldwide, the immersive AR/VR experience is expected to attract new fans into the world David Bowie’s life and art.
Developed by Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), in collaboration with the David Bowie Archive and the V&A Museum, the David Bowie Is augmented and virtual reality application is being designed by New York-based studio, Planeta. The David Bowie Archive will donate a share of the proceeds to the V&A Museum and Brooklyn Museum.