The legislative building in Regina with the FROST logo
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Freeze, it’s FROST! The U of R invites you

24 January 2024
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Escape the cold and step into an augmented reality (AR). The FROST ARt Exhibition, starting on January 26 at 5 p.m. in Victoria Park, will feature the artwork of six U of R Creative Technologies students from the course, Augmented Reality: Critical Theory, Art, and Activism.

“Unlike virtual reality, which immerses a user in a digital world, AR combines both the digital and physical through the layering of digital content onto a user’s surroundings,” says Evie Johnny Ruddy. “This layering technique is an appealing and potentially transformative aspect of AR technology as it allows artists and activists to create the illusion that virtual content is seamlessly located in a physical location.”

I hope the students glean from this experience that their artwork has meaning and impact outside of a classroom and that people beyond their professor are interested in what they have to say through their art.” — Evie Johnny Ruddy Creative Technologies Sessional Instructor

Ruddy, Creative Technologies Sessional Instructor at the U of R challenged the class to think academically by providing them with scholarly works on AR art as strategies for social justice and to explore critical issues. To build their AR art pieces, students were taught to use software such as Blender for 3D modelling, and Hoverlay and Adobe Aero to make the art interactive and accessible. 

Ruddy was so impressed by their students' work that they sought out this opportunity to showcase their art on a larger scale. “I hope the students glean from this experience that their artwork has meaning and impact outside of a classroom and that people beyond their professor are interested in what they have to say through their art.”

The installations themselves have no bounds. Thanks to the limitless potential of augmented reality, their imagination can take them anywhere. Third-year Creative Technologies student and emerging digital artist Samantha Liamzon takes her audience to the Philippines.

The Student Artists

Liamzon’s piece Ligaya, or Happiness in Tagalog, allows the audience to explore and interact with artifacts in a virtual Philippines street while listening to audio stories in English and Tagalog. When Liamzon was seven, she moved to Canada with her family. Liamzon’s final AR project for Ruddy’s course provided her with an opportunity to collaborate with her family and recreate stories from home. Liamzon says, “Sometimes people can’t go back to the Philippines for a while so this brings them back virtually.” In exploring her work, Liamzon highlights the impacts of immigration such as loss of identity, relationships, and culture. She aims to remind audiences of the joy in Filipino cultural values and traditions.  

Liamzon says that the "Ligaya AR project is for everyone, whether they are Filipino immigrants missing home or people who want to learn more about the Philippines." She hopes that her AR piece will spark curiosity and inspire non-Filipino audiences to seek out the foods and experiences depicted in her artwork.

augmented reality poster
Ligaya Augmented Reality Poster. Photo Credit: Samantha Liamzon

Jett Kowalchuk, a fourth-year Creative Technologies student and interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker, presents The Eternal Walking Path, a walking tour that takes the audience physically through space and virtually through time. Inspired by the works of David Lynch and Salvador Dali, Kowalchuk approached the project philosophically, considering the mortality of physical space. He poses the question, “Are digital spaces eternal? Do they continue to exist even when we are not experiencing them?” 

Kowalchuk calls this opportunity special and praises Ruddy for engaging with the students right away. He found himself intrigued by learning the ethics behind augmented reality. “Ethics is a big concern in augmented reality. If you are creating something for a public space, you as an artist have a responsibility to be mindful of what that means and how it changes the space.” Kowalchuk wants the audience to consider the relationship between digital and physical space and there is no better way to do that, than by experiencing the Creative Technologies students’ AR art at FROST.

Try It Yourself!

Are you interested in creating art with augmented reality but have no experience? Don’t stress. “One of the students who took my course in the fall semester was a biology student who had no previous experience with Blender or digital art,” says Ruddy. “She created a wonderful interactive, geolocated AR project that included 3D models she made and animated in Blender. If anyone is interested in learning more about AR art and wants to create an interactive AR experience, I’d encourage them to consider taking Augmented Reality: Critical Theory, Art, and Activism.”  

Interested in Creative Technologies? Learn more about the various programs here.

Back to Reality

After exploring the digital space, join a free and fun “learn to skate” event with the U of R Cougars Women’s hockey team. The event will take place on Sunday, January 28 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Wascana Lake. No skates? No worries. Skates and helmets will be available for all ages. 

After the fun, you can warm up at the hot chocolate bar beside the rink.

a smiling student on a skating rink
This U of R student is all smiles after skating. Photo credit: University Communications and Marketing

That's Not All

Check out the FROST hubs throughout Regina for various free events and activities. Victoria Park is the perfect place to explore the Outdoor Urban Canvas Art Gallery, while the Warehouse District is transforming its former railyard space into a magical Winter Wonderland. And don't forget about Wascana Centre's free activities for youth and families! For even more winter fun, you can purchase a single Frost @REAL Pass. 

So what are you waiting for? Join us at the FROST Festival and make some unforgettable winter memories!

Banner photo credit: University Communications and Marketing

About the University of Regina

2024 marks our 50th anniversary as an independent University (although our roots as Regina College date back more than a century!). As we celebrate our past, we work towards a future that is as limitless as the prairie horizon. We support the health and well-being of our 16,700 students and provide them with hands-on learning opportunities to develop career-ready graduates. Our research enterprise has grown to include 21 research centres and 12 Canada Research Chairs and brings in more than $51.2 million in funding annually. Our campuses are on Treaties 4 and 6 - the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, and the homeland of the Michif/Métis nation. We seek to grow our relationships with Indigenous communities to build a more inclusive future.

Let’s go far, together.