India’s Pixel Party collaborated with Dentsu Webchutney and VICE World News to educate people about the British Museum’s disputed artefacts through a unique multimedia project, ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’. The ambitious project was conceptualised by Dentsu Webchutney and executed by Pixel Party, to create an unparalleled interactive tour of the British Museum using augmented reality technology.
For context, the British Museum has possessed various cultural treasures acquired from former British colonies for centuries. The project aimed to educate audiences about their historical significance and origins through an immersive digital experience at the British Museum itself.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have reinvented communication across digital platforms, giving consumers experiences that are far more engaging than ever before.
For the project, Instagram AR filters were deployed to scan these artefacts and transport users back in time, with an audio narration by people from their homelands. Instagram face filter technology was repurposed for life-sized 3D artefacts. With support from a team based in London, the measurements, placements, lighting and mapping data for the artefacts were gathered remotely and developed in secrecy, unknown to the British Museum itself.
It took the team more than 4,200 minutes of physical testing at the Museum, 30 site visits and a constant effort over 18 months in the middle of the pandemic to pull off this incredible feat.
Voices of experts native to the artefacts’ countries of origin were incorporated to relay the true stories behind each artefact. The outcome was an emotive storytelling experience which offered viewers an authentic and heartfelt side of history.
Kalpit Dwivedi, Founder and Director, Pixel Party, said: “The process of creating an immersive experience was fascinating and challenging. It forced us to think out of the box and tackle unique situations, and we are proud of the result. I believe that technology enables more powerful, impactful storytelling and we decided to try this using a social platform that can build a rich experience for every user – which is how Instagram’s augmented reality filters became part of this project. Our aim was to make people more aware of their history.”
Gurbaksh Singh, Chief Innovation Officer, Dentsu Webchutney said:“We saw the Unfiltered History Tour as an opportunity to decolonize the British Museum, as the AR experience visually transports disputed artefacts to the home countries they belong to, as experts from their homelands tell true stories about how they reached the museum. Collaboration has been at the heart of this gigantic project, as plot twists kept surprising us throughout the journey – from the uncertainty surrounding the Museum shutting down during the lockdown to exhibits that were part of the first version of our tour being taken off display. But ultimately, our north star was to create a benchmark for Copy-Code-Craft coming together to create an immersive storytelling experience for everyone experiencing this campaign. Tech became a powerful tool to make our narrative more impactful and accessible.”
John Montoya, Senior Director, Audience & Content Strategy at VICE Media Group said: “The Unfiltered History Tour is an important teaching tool for our audience: we want to continue to educate them on the historic and modern inequalities that have been woven into our everyday lives, using technology to unlock a fuller experience. There is still so much to unpack about colonialism in Britain today: we hope that this project can play a part in furthering this.”
This cutting-edge video will be cited as an exciting case study in times to come.