This year we partnered with the Urban Art Institute for the urban art festival "Walls Can Dance" in Hamburg, Germany. We sought to create a new type of experience. Where digital discovery, combined with social interaction and collaborative play, could allow people the chance to explore and interpret urban spaces and art in a new way. We are proud to have contributed to establishing Hamburg's south as a new hotspot of the urban art scene.
This year’s festival ran from September 7th to 12th, 2020, and international stars of the urban art scene came to the Harburg district of Hamburg to let the city’s first coherent open space gallery grow further. We supported the festival this year, so interested visitors were able to interact with the artworks in Niantic's smartphone games such as Pokémon GO. In this context, not only new visually stunning murals were created in Harburg but there were also urban art walks, street art workshops, a cinema screening and much more.
Rediscovering urban spaces with Augmented Reality
Discovering urban spaces and reinterpreting places - these are all facets of urban art. But nowadays, the discovery and appropriation of the city is increasingly happening in digital space. Since 2016, the mobile game Pokémon GO has been delighting millions of people around the world. The game lets players explore urban space in a playful way, and lifts the boundaries between the analog and digital worlds. So what do urban art and Pokémon GO have in common? That's what 15 interested participants were able to find out by going on on two tours with myself & Philip Marz, as we were joined by the participants and the organizers of Walls Can Dance. We loved the opportunity to show them Harburg, play Pokémon GO together and also learn exciting information about the respective artists and their works.
We transported the event into augmented reality by setting up virtual points of interest in our games at each of the newly created and already existing murals. Through the implementation of the points of interest in Pokémon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress Prime, players will continue to have the opportunity to virtually experience each artwork and explore special aspects of the city.
Among the artists who have given Hamburg's facades some new shine were Innerfields, Dave the Chimp and other German and international street artists. More about the Walls Can Dance Festival can be found at www.wallscandance.de.
We look forward to furthering the ties between Niantic and the cutting edge of art.
–Anne Beuttenmüller, Director of Marketing EMEA