The Kalakriti art gallery aims to incorporate virtual reality, augmented reality and AI for a unique experience.
The pandemic caused art galleries across India to enhance the virtual experience of seeing and buying art. Some of them updated their websites to host virtual exhibitions. The Hyderabad-based Kalakriti art gallery goes a step further to offer art lovers a ‘figital’ experience (physical and digital), incorporating elements of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).
The gallery created in 2002 was recently moved to a new address on Highway no. 4, Banjara Hills. The multilevel facilities aim to become a cultural center that hosts artistic events, talks, book readings and cultural performances. The 4,000-square-foot gallery on the ground floor can host three exhibits simultaneously and deliver a seamless digital experience.
An exhibition of paintings by the multi-script artist Muzaffar Ali, entitled “The Other Side”, can currently be seen. In the gallery, scan QR codes to access additional videos that define the concept of the paintings and their price. Those viewing the exhibition remotely (https://terapact.in/kalakriti/) can use a VR headset to virtually tour the gallery. The design and visualization of the virtual gallery is a replica of the actual gallery.
The owners of Kalakriti, Prshant and Rekha Lahoti, claim that the figital transformation is an ongoing work and probably the first of its kind in India. On the channel there is an “Art Cafe” app where viewers can browse an extensive catalog and place orders. The website (kalakritiartgallery.com) is also being updated.
The couple had been wanting to enhance the digital experience of seeing and buying art for a few years, and the pandemic accelerated the transformation: “We all got used to doing things virtually, the timing was right,” Rekha says.
With people spending more time at home during the pandemic, the interior design segment experienced a boom. Paintings, sculptures and installations by master artists are the cornerstone of Kalakriti, but the gallery also wants to take advantage of the segment looking for affordable art as decoration or corporate gifts.
While an original work of art by a leading artist can cost a few rupees, the affordable art segment opens up new possibilities: crockery, furniture, furnishings, limited edition prints, table books and fashion accessories. Think tableware with the work of Jogen Chowdhury or a stole with the work of Bose Krishnamachari, signed by the respective artists. In addition, there are limited edition prints of vintage maps of different Indian cities that can be framed to size. A collection of litho prints and vintage posters are also part of the catalog.
Some of these collectibles are on display in the gallery; a visitor can scan the QR code to browse the entire catalog: “Doing digital also helps us not to have to show everything on the shelves. Once people come in, see the quality and get an idea of the digital interface, they are likely to place orders online next time. The paintings and sculptures in our inventory have RFID (radio frequency identification), ”says Prshant.
The “Art Cafe” application that will be launched soon will also allow users to see what a painting would look like in different indoor environments: “We are also working on enabling integrated augmented reality so that a user can project a painting on his / her wall in home or office, before making the purchase decision, ”Prshant says.
In addition to offering a seamless shopping and viewing experience, Prshant says the app and website will analyze shopping patterns and use artificial intelligence to market relevant products, depending on whether you’re interested in fine arts, decoration or corporate gifts.
The technological transformation, according to the couple, was possible thanks to working with several collaborators.
The figital experience could be the next big thing in India’s art market.