Digital Obata

ShiPu Wang
Art History and Visual Culture
UC Merced

Digital Obata established a website and a smartphone app to accompany an unprecedented retrospective of Obata (1885-1975), the pre-eminent Japanese-American artist working in the western U.S. in the twentieth century. The digital components leverage the latest technologies in image recognition and “Augmented Reality” to offer interactive features that increase the public’s engagement with the exhibition and relevant scholarship. The website offers viewers and scholars from around the world free, global access to specialized research and digitized, primary-source documents concerning Obata and California modernism. The app allows visitors to point their cameras at artworks in the gallery and reveal virtual links on their smartphones that take them beyond a museum’s physical space to explore other online, interdisciplinary resources. As such, Digital Obata proposes new ways for viewers to experience exhibitions and for museums/institutions to disseminate research and engage the global public.