Digital Art Murals

How can we use digital technology to inform and inspire a new generation about Bedford’s past?

Digital Ghost Signs is a project that combines public art with digital technology to bring to life the stories behind two murals located in Bedford Town Centre. Students from Bedford College will work with digital artist Clemence Debaig to create an app which will use augmented reality to offer a deeper experience of the Ghost Signs. 

Over the course of 8 weeks, students from Bedford College co-create an app with digital artist Clemence Debaig. Together they will collect local stories, and learn how to create an app which will contain the stories behind each mural. They will also digitize two Ghost Sign Murals – Keith Hopewell’s Future of Flight and Amy Womalds’ Cardington Sheds

This collaboration also focuses on inspiring and empowering Bedford’s youth: Digital Ghost Signs offers students an opportunity to work alongside a professional artist, experience working in digital art and shape the way how people experience their town centre. By the end of the project students will understand how Augmented Reality can be incorporated into our local environment. 

But what is augmented reality? Augmented reality is an interactive experience where you use technology (such as a phone) to superimpose images, texts or sounds on top of what you see. To experience augmented reality, you must use an app and hold your camera to an object. Once your camera recognises the object, the phone makes the viewer see superimposed images, texts or sounds through their device’s camera.  

A famous example of augmented reality is Pokémon-Go. Pokémon-Go invited users to wander the world and ‘catch’ Pokémon; when users ‘caught’ a creature, their device would superimpose the image of the creature. Augmented reality offers us the opportunity to see more than reality – it offers us a new prism for viewing and exploring our local environment. 

Now we know what augmented reality is, how will it work for this project? Bedford College students, in collaboration with Clemence Debaig, will create an app that will superimpose the stories behind each of our Ghost Signs. By scanning a QR code at the mural, you can use your smartphone to transform the way you experience the Bedford town centre.

Have you played The Vault Game?

Launched alongside the other digital murals on Sunday 8th October, The Vault Game is a virtual escape room where users must crack the code of the Vault to discover secrets of Bedford’s historical high street.

Read more about The Vault here:

The Vault – Crack The Code and Discover Bedford’s Secret History

This project is delivered in partnership with Bedford College and is supported by Bedford Borough Council, ARA Prototypes and Bedford Bid