Digital Art Murals

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

Digital Ghost Signs was a project that combined public art with digital technology to bring to life the stories behind two murals located in Bedford Town Centre. Digital artist Clemence Debaig created an app which uses augmented reality to offer a deeper experience of the Ghost Signs. 

Over the course of 8 weeks, students from Bedford College learnt about the process of creating an app with digital artist Clemence Debaig and helped create marketing campaign ideas. The two Ghost Sign Murals – Keith Hopewell’s Future of Flight and Amy Womalds’ Cardington Sheds – were also digitized. 

This collaboration focused on inspiring and empowering Bedford’s youth: Digital Ghost Signs offered students an opportunity to work alongside a professional artist, experience working in digital art and shaping the way people experience their town centre. By the end of the project students developed an understanding of 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 does work for this project? The app, created by artist Clemence Debaig, superimposes 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 8 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, through the Town Centre Priority Fund, ARA Prototypes and Bedford Bid