A team of artists have resurrected Yekaterinburg’s beloved TV tower using AR tech to create a new “digital monument”.
A new app will allow locals to glimpse a ghost of the now-demolished landmark through their smartphone screens. The digital image will appear at specific points around the city, each marked by posters.
The tower, which was levelled in March 2018, had been abandoned for more than a quarter of the century — but remained a city icon.
Project leader and artist Slava PTRK says the building’s new incarnation will truly return the tower to local people.
“Physical objects always have a fixed status, an owner, boundaries and restrictions,” says Slava. ”A virtual object can belong to a city, kept in a decentralised cloud before appearing on personal devices. It belongs to everyone.”
Work on the Yekaterinburg tower began in 1983, but ground to a halt after the fall of the Soviet Union, leaving the building’s empty shell reaching 240 metres above the city streets. Despite proposals to turn the tower into a restaurant, view point, or even a church, local officials sold the land in 2017 and oversaw its demolition a year later.
The artists hope that the tower’s digital form will now get the new lease of life that its real life counterpart was never able to experience.
“It’s not enough to build a digital copy of a tower: that’s too simple,” says Slava. “The digital DNA of ‘new tower’ gives us the freedom to play. Artists can paint it, reshape it, animate it, or even demolish it. The tower will become a digital gallery with different skins. It’s a unique place and environment for artists to represent their thoughts on a radically different scale.”