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  • Sean Karoonian

AVARA Unveils Three Extraordinary AR Experiences at AGO for The Anthropocene Project Exhibition

Toronto, Canada / October 3rd, 2018 – AVARA announces its release of unprecedented Augmented Reality (AR) experiences at a scale, quality, and realism never before achieved. The company collaborated with world-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier to create three AR experiences that are being featured as part of the acclaimed Anthropocene exhibition that opened simultaneously at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada on September 28, 2018.

Through the innovative Augmented Reality experiences developed, visitors will be transported to Kenya, Africa to experience the Presidential Tusk Pile from the historic ivory burning that took place in April 2016; stand at the foot of iconic Big Lonely Doug on Vancouver Island, the second largest Douglas fir in Canada towering at 225 feet and approximately 1,000 years old, which was left standing alone in a clear-cut after being saved by the words "leave tree", left by a compassionate logger; and interact with Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino who died on March 19, 2018, signifying the functional extinction of the subspecies. Why are these so unique and important? Each AR experience delivers unprecedented realism at a true-to-life scale enabling visitors to experience these truly extraordinary places and moments as if they were actually there.

“We pushed the technological boundaries with months of sophisticated and complex software development to create the most visually stunning and realistic AR experiences possible like nothing ever seen before,” commented Vikas Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of AVARA. “These AR experiences bring visitors as close as possible to reliving the experience of being there which we hope evokes an emotional reaction given the compelling and experiential narrative of the subject matter.”

In order to activate the individual AR experiences, three unique large-scale physical AR triggers, of varying sizes and shapes, were designed to anchor these large-scale 3D images most effectively. Photogrammetry was utilized to create the individual AR experiences; thousands of high-resolution photographs shot by Burtynsky, combined with complex and proprietary software, generated each 3D model that was further refined, optimized, and transformed into AR objects. Each AR image can be viewed from 360 degrees with a visual fidelity that allows visitors to see the most granular of details.

“Augmented Reality technology has been evolving over the last couple of years and AVARA is at the forefront and pioneering innovations that have never before been attempted,” stated Scott Herman, CTO of AVARA. “Developing AR scenes of this magnitude and quality takes considerable effort and skill and we are building technology that will keep us at the forefront of this burgeoning and exciting industry sector.”

“I was thrilled to work with the AVARA team on the technical realization of the AR experiences that are part of the Anthropocene exhibitions,” noted Edward Burtynsky. “In co-founding AVARA with Vikas Gupta we aspire to deliver meaningful and important messages through immersive experiences in the third dimension.”

The Anthropocene Project is a multidisciplinary body of work from Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky, and Jennifer Baichwal that includes two major complementary museum exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; a feature documentary film, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Alicia Vikander, that opened in select cities across Canada on September 28, 2018. More details can be found at

The Anthropocene exhibition runs until January 6, 2019 at the Art Gallery of Ontario and until February 24, 2019 at the National Gallery of Canada. The AVARA app to experience the AR in the exhibition can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. AVARA will be releasing consumer oriented AR experiences in the coming months that enable end-users to enjoy a range of AR anywhere they like. To learn more and to experience AVARA’s AR, visit


AVARA is creating innovative technology to enable the most compelling VR and AR experiences that transport people to the most unique places, moments, and interactions around the world far beyond their imagination.

AVARA was co-founded by Vikas Gupta, an award winning digital media executive and electronic entertainment industry veteran and Edward Burtynsky, renowned global photographer with a multitude of accolades and awards including being named Photo London’s 2018 Master of Photography at Photo London. Gupta’s deep experience in interactive digital media and technology and Burtynsky’s expertise in lens-based arts are being leveraged to create immersive experiences that engage the viewer in such a way that inspires them, evoking and achieving a transcendence of subject.

For more information, visit:

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