A Vienna Startup Success Story: Artivive
How augmented reality is shaking up the art scene
Vienna is home to so many world-famous museums and cultural institutions, that we are truly spoiled for choice in regards to art. That being said, the museum experience has remained largely unchanged since its origins; not just here, but everywhere.
We are used to modern, fast-paced storytelling and it's hard to believe we're stuck with audioguides, when our smartphones let us interact with the entire knowledge of humankind. This is where we come in. When we first launched Artivive, back in 2017, we had a clear goal in mind; to use technology to revitalize the traditional art world. The new and the old, brought together.
Back in our early days, before we'd even worked with any museums, we knew that we were onto something. The Albertina was running an exhibition titled "Film Stills" and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to showcase our product. We reached out to them directly, but that conversation didn't go anywhere. So we went to the exhibition independently as visitors. There, we took photos of all images on show, 140 photographs to be exact.
Sometimes the guerrilla initiative is the way to go
We took them back to the office, which at the time was a very modest home office setup and spent over two days searching for the films represented by the photographs from the exhibition. It was arduous work, looking for the respective scenes, cutting 10-15 second clips and overlaying them onto the key images we had photographed, but we were determined to carry out our vision.
Once we had all the clips, we uploaded both videos and images to our content management system and linked them together. Then came the time to test it with the Artivive app, which was a tense moment. Neither of us spoke and we held our breath as we clasped our phones to scan the first photograph. It was only our dream on the line, after all. With the phone pointed towards the image, it sprang to life and began to play the scene from the film. The collective sigh of relief was an audible one, it had worked exactly as we had envisioned it!
On the up and up
The very next day, we went back to the exhibition to see if the technology would still work seamlessly in the museum. The experience in the context of an exhibition was even more powerful than we had imagined. The app brought the photographs to life and transported us into the films they were a snapshot of. We documented the whole process and created a video to showcase our successful experience. We sent it to the team at the Albertina and this time we managed to get their attention. We set up our first meeting, talked through the product and went through the exhibition with them, showcasing how the app works. Our platform provides museums and galleries with a reliable, fast, and scalable infrastructure to deliver an immersive experience for their visitors, both prolonging visitation time and amplifying the emotional connection to art. This sealed the deal and we won Albertina as our first official contract.
The snowball effect
We received a lot of press during this time and we also garnered international attention for the first time. We carried out our first partnership with Albertina in November 2017, with the Batliner exhibition, which is still running to this day, and Albrecht Schröder, the Director at the Albertina said "Artivive will replace the audioguide". This was a really big deal for us, as it was our first big break and we knew others were starting to believe in our idea.
Once we had this contract, it became much easier to approach other museums. Since our humble beginnings, our little startup has flourished into a successful business that we are truly proud of. We've had the opportunity to work with museums such as the Albertina, the Belvedere and the MAK here in Vienna. At an international level, we have also worked with venues like the Shanghai Himalayas Museum, the Ying Art Center in Shanghai, MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Ilmin Museum of Art in Seoul, and the Leica Gallery in Singapore.
What lies in store for us
It is a pleasure to collaborate with these institutions to bring both specific artworks, as well as entire exhibitions to life. These use cases prove that our idea has the potential to enhance the museum experience worldwide. But we're not just in it to work with the big names. Some of our most exciting work is done in our own art space in-house and getting to collaborate with other small galleries in our vicinity.
Artivive is now the leading platform for augmented reality art, where artists can create new dimensions of art by linking classical with digital art. Our vision remains the same, to change how art is created and consumed, and to build a community around augmented reality art. We want to democratize the technology behind it and allow anyone to create AR assets, no matter their skillset. AR is an exciting new medium that allows creatives to take their designs to another level and right now, we have only scratched the surface of what it is capable of.
Read more about Starting a Business in Austria.