Brandon Doerrer
Sep 8, 2023

Snap celebrates multicultural communities through AR monuments

The third and final installment of Snap’s Monumental Perspectives project covers the histories of diverse communities in Los Angeles.

Snap celebrates multicultural communities through AR monuments

Snap Inc. and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) have partnered to unveil the third and final installment of their augmented reality art and history project, Monumental Perspectives.

This year’s showcase places five virtual monuments around Los Angeles that Snapchat users can access through the app’s camera at specific locations, such as the Los Angeles State Historic Park or Santa Monica Beach. 

Users can also see the monuments around the world by searching the lens explorer within the app or by scanning QR codes on LACMA’s website.

Each lens places a virtual piece of artwork into the world representing different historical events and concepts related to diverse communities in Los Angeles. This year’s theme is about using collective memory to examine individual and communal legacies, said Sophia Dominguez, head of AR platform partnerships and ecosystem at Snap Inc., via email.

One lens, for instance, places a hole in the ground to depict the impossibility of any monument capturing the destruction of the Chinese Massacre of 1871, while another generates a robot transforming into an original score and poem to signify the resilience of Black communities in the face of ever-evolving struggles.

Participating artists include Victoria Fu, Yassi Mazandi, Rashaad Newsome, Rubén Ortiz Torres and Alison Saar.

To celebrate the final installment of its three-year initiative, LACMA will host an open house on Sept. 10 where visitors can look at monuments from all three installations.

The Mellon Foundation supported LACMA’s involvement in Monumental Perspectives through its five-year, $250 million The Monuments Project, which supports public projects focused on telling often-ignored parts of American history.

Monumental Perspectives first launched in December 2020. Its first collection released in April 2021 featured artists Mercedes Dorame, I.R. Bach, Glenn Kaino, Rubén Ochoa and Ada Pinkston. Last year’s installment launched in April 2022 and included pieces from Judy Baca, Sandra de la Loza and Kang Seung Lee.

“Our main focus throughout the partnership has been to give back to the communities we feature by, for example, working with local programs like Community Power Collective and Inclusive Action for the City,” Dominguez said. “To tell these stories correctly, we believe it’s important to highlight and work alongside the people they represent.”

In August, Snap partnered with Omnicom Media Group on a research study that revealed that AR experiences exclude non-white and LGBTQIA+ users.

An estimated 2.9 billion people will frequently use AR in 2023, and that number is expected to grow to 4.3 billion by 2025, according to a 2021 Deloitte study commissioned by Snap. Ad spend on AR is also expected to surpass $1 billion in the U.S. this year and reach $1.6 billion by 2027, according to Statista.

Snap reported $1.07 billion in revenue in Q2 2023 compared to $1.11 billion in Q2 2022. It added 14 million daily active users last quarter to hit 397 million, an increase of 14% YOY.

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