The Code of the Cloisters
Developer tools: Unity/ARKit/Placenote
Designer tools: Sketch/InVision/After Effects
The Code of the Cloisters is physical immersive experience happens in the MET Cloisters Museum that provides visitors a next level experience to explore the museum and the exhibits in an immersive way, aiming at bridging the gaps between human, history, and art.
Imagine you are Dr. Robert Langdon from the Da Vinci Code, and having a new adventure in an epic medieval museum in New York City —— Not in VR, but the real world.
Every time people went to a museum, we would soon be fascinated by all the fantastic art pieces and be like “OMG they are so stunning!”
However, we are just ordinary visitors without professional knowledge to understand the background stories of the exhibits. People would soon get bored and confused.
When we turn to audio guide, they are always so tedious and not user-friendly at all.
I interviewed 10 friends about their feelings about the audio guide in museums.
“Will you read the labels or use the audio guide in museums?
If so, how do you feel about that experience? “
Can we create an immersive experience in a real museum, that allows visitors to learn art history knowledge while taking adventures?
Just like what Robert Langdon always did.
After reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown,
I realized that I followed Dr. Robeart Langdon going through different museums and learned different art history knowledge without feeling bored.
The MET Cloisters, located at the northwestern point of Manhattan, is a branch of The MET Museums specializes in European medieval architecture, sculpture and decorative arts.
Artworks are shown in the architectural settings of French monasteries and abbeys.
It contains a large collection of medieval artworks. Some highlight exhibits are the most famous and spectacular but enigmatic survivors of the late Middle Ages.
I chose a special series of exhibits — — which is the most famous series in this museum, the Unicorn Tapestries as the main target to create the narrative.
This series of 7 tapestries tell a story of a group of the medieval nobleman went hunting, they found a unicorn, they killed it, and brought it back to the castle. But finally, the unicorn was resurrected and lived a peaceful life.
I chose this fancy medieval comic book not only because of the story, but also the complicated historical background, knowledge of medieval decoration and the metaphor of religion, which are hard to explain in a traditional way.
Anne the Queen
Duke La Rouchefoucauld
The project is a combination of digital and physical experiences.
It is contributed by three parts:
The MET Cloisters Museum
The puzzle game book that would guide the visitors --“The Book”
The mobile AR App works as a tool to discover different clues -- "The Eye"
How it works/
The mobile AR App would provide visitors a new way to see. people will find the puzzles in the exhibits/physical environment.
And find the answers in the book through the help of the AR App.
"The Book" as a treasure map to guide the visitors, was pretended to be a manuscript introducing the Aristocratic Life in Medieval France once owned by the family of La Rochefoucauld.
This book was manuscript and decorated in medieval style.
For “ The Hound”, As the story of the tapestries shows that the hunters were led by hounds, I created a virtual hound that would lead the treasure hunters to go to the correct spots to find the puzzles.
"The Hound" is a part of the mobile AR App. This is basically an indoor path guide. This indoor guide would let the virtual hound to walk in a preset way, to lead the visitors to go to the correct spot.
To achieve this, I build the 3d model of the met Cloisters in Maya, a 3d modeling tool.
Then I implement it into unity, use map box sdk, placenote sdk along with ARKit, to got the result.
The main logo for the AR APP “The Eye” came from the eye of Providence, which is an eye of god that can see everything. And I also got the color and the shape from the medieval wax seal and the old Met museum logo. As it’s a metaphor of a new way to see the medieval exhibits in a MET Museum.
Each color came from an element of the tapestries.
Hi-Fidelity Design /
Would not be able to make this project happen without these supportive talented:
Senior Managing Educator of the MET Cloisters
Senior Publicist of the MET Cloisters
Program Associate of the MET Cloisters