Ogden searched but couldn’t find an application, so he sought out funding from MCSII to have students design it. The project not only gives students experience, but it fills the need for more interpretation of the paintings and other artworks too.
Project deals with civil liberties
Tim Shiell, MCSII director, said the center was enthusiastic about the project.
“It deals with important civil liberties -- freedom of expression, artistic freedom and academic freedom; supports cutting edge student research and internships; and offers a tangible outcome with the app that has potential use at universities, museums, galleries and so forth,” Shiell said. “This is the essence not just of MCSII but UW-Stout as a polytechnic university.
“With so much art at universities and elsewhere being contested for many different reasons, it is important for universities to remain true to their fundamental educational mission,” Shiell added. “The app won’t end controversies about art any more than a class on politics or the economy ends controversies about politics or economics; it simply makes possible new educational opportunities. An augmented reality app offers a hyper-convenient and impactful way to educate people about controversial — and noncontroversial — works of art. The Cal Peters murals at UW-Stout provided a starting point, a spark to ignite the project, and we’re excited to see where it goes from there.”
The students enjoyed working on the project, finding it challenging while learning to work together using an Agile system to keep it moving forward by setting deadlines together.
“One of the challenges was making the interaction with the app look good and feel good to the user,” Karr said. “It allowed me to bring out the creative side of programming.”
Ogden said it was amazing to watch the students work together. “They always knew they would work through all the challenges to the end game. They didn’t know what the pathway would look like to get there.”
Students gain work experience
Working on a project for the university will provide them with experience for their resumes and proof that they can produce a product, Bauch said. “It honestly felt a lot more like game design than programming,” he noted. “I think that is what I liked most about it.”
Kelly said SMARTArt will provide more information on artworks. “Art has such a difficult way of perceiving it than most other forms of media. Everything you see can be decrypted differently based on the viewer. For one person it could be beautiful and well done and for another it could be horrific.”