The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception, the free mobile-based immersive game set at The National Gallery in London, has officially launched to the public.
The AR app is the first of its kind launched by The National Gallery, and has been created with the help of over 80 children.
Having been selected as winners of the StoryFutures China Storylab commission in early 2021, the launch is the culmination of a year-long project by the Arcade team, working in collaboration with The National Gallery, StoryFutures and a wider partnership group including Royal Holloway University of London and Brunel University of London.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THE KEEPERS
This child-led experience takes place in the National Gallery, London but also, through augmented reality, a wider imagined world of Keepers where a group of magical beings who help care for some of our world’s most precious objects.
Young Gallery visitors are asked to help guide a fictitious Keeper of Paintings to find a lost ‘Palette of Perception’ – a magical object with special gems that gives them ‘powers’ – to engage with the paintings digitally. As they move through the Gallery responding to the app’s story, a new digital world is revealed where visitors can solve puzzles, find hidden secrets, and collect the gems connected to the paintings.
The app is designed to be fun and rewarding for children and their families, but its primary goal is to foster interest and engagement with the Gallery's masterpieces. The challenges within the game all require the kids to explore the art with their eyes, and include regular breaks in which they are prompted to put the phones away and chat about the paintings with their friends and family.
The cleverness of the app design is that the rewards only come via close study [of the paintings] with the naked eye.
Jon Meggitt, Co‐Founder of Arcade and lead developer, says: ‘We were absolutely thrilled to win the opportunity to develop this experience in partnership with this special and talented group, but working alongside StoryFutures, the National Gallery, the wonderful kids of the Children's Advisory Group and all the other partners has exceeded every one of our expectations.’
Lawrence Chiles, Head of Digital at the National Gallery, London, says: ‘It’s fantastic that we are able to launch our first dedicated app for children that creates a new perspective on the paintings at the National Gallery. Arcade, the children and all the partners involved have created something really magical.’
Professor James Bennett, Director of StoryFutures at Royal Holloway, University of London, says: ‘The National Gallery and Arcade have taken on a massive innovation challenge. This project shows what can be achieved in linking great storytelling with innovative new immersive technologies. Perhaps the most exciting thing is that the story of The Keeper of Paintings has only just begun.’
The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception is designed for 7-11 year olds, will run at The National Gallery for at least 12 months, and can be downloaded for free on the Apple and Google stores now.
To plan your visit to The National Gallery, please visit www.nationalgallery.org.uk/keeper