Snap is reportedly about to launch art shows all over the world–starting with mega-star collaborator Jeff Koons, who will bring one of his iconic balloon dog sculptures to Central Park. The catch? You can only see these exhibits through the lens of Snapchat. That’s right, they’re augmented art.
The report is born from some clever sleuthing over at Techcrunch, which was able to fast forward an online countdown clock Snap designed to hype the project’s launch, allowing them to view a promotional video hours before its official release. It appears that any artist will be able to submit their work for consideration for Snapchat’s evolving, global art show. (We’ve reached out to Snap for confirmation and will update this post when we hear back.)
It’s a sign of Snap doubling down on using augmented reality for more than its silly, insanely popular selfie filters. Earlier this year, the company launched World Lens, which allows users to drop virtual objects in the real world. Just within the past week, the company opened World Lenses to advertisers, allowing businesses to run ads as virtual objects, like a Blade Runner car flying through your environment to promote the new film.
But Snap’s art initiative pushes things a step further, transforming these augmented reality filters into a full-on, location-dependent experiences, much like Pokémon Go. Snapchat won’t just meet the user where they are, but coax us to venture into real world locations to see these virtual sites.
Of course, given Snap’s open playbook of making every successful bit of its UI open to monetization, the advertising version of its art galleries will come next. Today it’s Koons and some backpack wine in Central Park. Tomorrow? Maybe an exclusive, virtual Budweiser tent outside a sporting event, with virtual suds bubbling through the four-inch screen of your phone.