Kalakriti art gallery aims to incorporate virtual reality, augmented reality and AI for a unique experience

The pandemic has prompted art galleries across India to improve the virtual experience of viewing and buying art. Some of them have upgraded their websites to host virtual exhibitions. Hyderabad-based Kalakriti Art Gallery goes one step further to offer art lovers a ‘phygital’ (physical and digital) experience, incorporating elements of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

The gallery, established in 2002, has recently moved to a new address on road no. 4, Banjara Hills. The multi-level premises intend to become a cultural center that hosts artistic events, lectures, book readings and cultural performances. The 4,000 square foot gallery space on the ground floor can accommodate three exhibitions simultaneously and provide a seamless digital experience.

Currently on view is an exhibition of paintings by multi-line artist Muzaffar Ali, entitled “The Other Side”. At the gallery, scan the QR codes for additional videos describing the concept of the paintings and their pricing. Those who view the exhibition from a distance (https://terapact.in/kalakriti/), can use a VR headset to virtually walk around the gallery. The layout and display on the virtual gallery is a replica of the real gallery.

The owners of Kalakriti Prshant and Rekha Lahoti state that the phygital transformation is a work in progress and probably the first of its kind in India. In the pipeline is an “Art Café” app where viewers can browse an extensive catalog and place orders. The website (kalakritiartgallery.com) is also being upgraded.

The couple have been keen to improve the digital art viewing and buying experience for a few years, and the pandemic has accelerated the transformation: “We’ve all gotten used to doing things virtually, now is the time,” says Rekha.

With people spending more time at home during the pandemic, the interior design segment has experienced a boom. Master artist paintings, sculptures and installations are the mainstay of Kalakriti, but the gallery also wants to tap into the segment that seeks affordable and organized artwork as a decoration or corporate gift.

While an original work of art from a leading artist may cost a few lakh rupees, the affordable art segment opens up new possibilities – tableware, furniture, home furnishings, limited edition prints, coffee table books and Fashion Accessories. Think tableware with Jogen Chowdhury’s artwork or a stole with Bose Krishnamachari’s artwork, signed by the respective artists. Additionally, there are limited edition prints of antique maps from different Indian cities which can be custom framed. A collection of lithographs and old posters is also part of the catalog.

Some of these collectibles are on display at the gallery; a visitor can scan the QR code to browse the entire catalog: “Going digital also helps us avoid having to display everything on the shelves. Once people walk in, see the quality, and get a feel for the digital interface, they’ll likely place orders online next time around. The paintings and sculptures in our inventory are equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification), ”explains Prshant.

The “Art Café” application, which will be launched soon, will also allow users to see what a painting would look like in different interior settings: “We are also working on enabling integrated augmented reality so that a user can project a picture. picture on his / her wall at home or in the office, before making the purchase decision, ”explains Prshant.

In addition to offering a seamless viewing and shopping experience, Prshant says the app and website will analyze buying patterns and use artificial intelligence to market relevant products, depending on whether you like them. fine art, decoration or corporate gifts.

The technological transformation, say the couple, was made possible by working with several collaborators.

The phygital experience just might be the next big thing in the Indian art market.