Exhibit Showcases May 4 Artifacts in Augmented Reality

Digital Sciences Students Use Photogrammetry to Bring Historical Objects to Life

Artifacts of May 4, 1970  a survivor’s jacket, a gas mask and gun shell casing  tell a story that’s not often accessible to the general public.

Kent State University Assistant Professor Abe Avnisan and students in his digital sciences capstone course will bring these artifacts’ stories to life via the exhibit “May 4: Through the Looking Glass.” Throughout the semester, students have been using photogrammetry  a technique that involves taking a number of overlapping photos and using a software to create three-dimensional images showing the object’s depth  to recreate digital displays of 10 artifacts of May 4, 1970.

The exhibit, located in the MuseLab (Room 321 of the University Library) will open Dec. 3 from 4-6 p.m. and run Dec. 4-6 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The MuseLab is a creative and collaborative space for thinking, doing and learning about museal things, part of the museum studies pathway in the School of Information. There, viewers will be able to examine these artifacts in augmented reality, in a manner that Avnisan hopes will capture the same “emotion and wonderment” he felt when examining them in person.

“When I went to the special collections and looked at these things, and touched them, it was a really interesting experience,” Avnisan said. “It made the events much more real, and opened up this space for thinking and feeling around May 4 in a way I hadn’t experienced before.”

Avnisan, who joined Kent State as an assistant professor in the School of Digital Sciences and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication this past fall, is a new media artist who has used emerging technology to create interactive and augmented reality-based exhibits for art galleries and museums around the world. He has valued this opportunity to create an art experience as part of the university’s 50th commemoration of May 4, 1970.

“It was a good fit,” he said. “I wanted to give the students an opportunity to work on something that would have a lot of visibility within the community  something that went beyond the limited audience of their peers in class.” 

The 10 objects that will be on display include items from the May 4 Visitors Center, University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, the Ohio History Connection and survivor Alan Canfora’s private collection. Those who are unable to view the exhibit the week of Dec. 3 can make a private appointment the week of Dec. 9-13. Contact Abe Avnisan at anowitz@kent.edu.

POSTED: Friday, November 29, 2019 - 9:58am
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 3:09pm