Digital looking glass: AR and VR Ukrainian projects of 2020

Digital looking glass: AR and VR Ukrainian projects of 2020

New Economy

This year, the whole world was forced to adapt to the new rules of the game. The transition from «real reality» towards «digital looking glass» has required projects to find unusual solutions for interaction. Therefore, experiments with virtualization have become more relevant than ever. In our material, you will find the selection of 15 cultural, historical and tourist projects that have expanded the boundaries of the isolation dimension.


Theatre 360 (Theatre on Podil)

In Ukraine, an innovative art project has been launched, which for the first time showed video versions of theatrical productions integrating 3D copies of actors and scenery. Modern technology has been combined with classical performing arts, making in this way the theatre accessible because it could have been visited at home from a smartphone or computer. Focus on important details and multi-camera shooting was leading towards a deeper empathy for the heroes.

The 3D animation was directed by Deep 3D Studio team, and Strumer Production was responsible for the two-day shooting of the play in the theatre. The first online play «Fireplace Master» was made by the Kyiv Theatre on Podil. The plot of the play is based on the poetic drama by Lesya Ukrainka and interpreted by Ukrainian director Ivan Uryvskyi. We wrote in more detail a bit earlier about various examples of online theatres in the world.

digital looking glass ar and vr ukrainian projects
Scene with 3D elements. Credits: Theatre on Podil

The Ukrainian developers are creating a new event platform for online interaction – hover.link. The first event was called the BeZVIZ Pre-party held in September. This space reproduces the music festival in reality at the maximum: a person gets into a live online broadcast, where he sees an interactive map of the festival. It has three stages, entertainment areas, food court, competitions from partners. The image of each artist can be rotated 360 degrees. The developers of hover.link also organized an online food court and home delivery. Besides, you could easily move there between interactive locations and join many chats.

Art alley

Ten art objects dedicated to famous people, as well as musical or literary phenomena of the 20th century have been installed on Borys Hrinchenko Street in Kyiv. The installations were created within the framework of the Art Alley project, the purpose of which is to rethink the Ukrainian public space and popularize important musical and literary cases. Art objects of Art Alley are made in various techniques, including elements of augmented reality. There is a QR code placed next to each object, thanks to which you can get a detailed information about its creation and theme.

Ukrainian Fashion Week
Credits: nv.ua

Ukrainian Fashion Week

In the new season of Ukrainian Fashion Week, the studio of Instagram filter developers FFFACE.ME and the design brand FINCH presented a new collection of semi-digital clothing: with the help of Instagram stories, guests activated and saw three dynamic virtual prints on T-shirts and sweatshirts. In total, six virtual images based on two items of clothing, as well as the seventh image in collaboration with Pepsi were demonstrated at an interactive presentation at Art Arsenal.

History. Society


In 2020, more than 100 Ukrainian artists worked at the ARTEFACT virtual art residence to create more than 50 exhibits dedicated to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. All of them are represented as a separate virtual space containing its own mood and context, in which one can immerse from any point in the world, either from a computer or smartphone browser, or in VR helmets. Developed in Ukraine, this is the first virtual exhibition in the world dedicated to the Chernobyl accident. The main location of the exhibition is the central square of Pripyat, where the 4th power unit stands, covered with the Arch of Shelter, and giant figures of liquidators are settled in the centre. Among the exhibits the works of famous Ukrainian artists turned into 3D are presented: «Chornobyl Lekaha» by Maria Primachenko (who lived in the border with the Exclusion Zone), along with a series of prophetic paintings by Ivan Marchuk.


Track Holodomor History

Track Holodomor History is an excursion-historical application that tells about Kyiv in the 1932-33s through archival documents and photographs, eyewitness stories and still unknown facts. The museum team has been researching the tragic page of Kyiv’s history for six months. In addition to Kyiv, they plan to create excursions for Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odessa. Thanks to the application, you can walk around the locations of Kyiv – houses, streets, parks, buildings – and read their history of the 1930s; view archival photos, videos, documents on the Holodomor history; familiarize yourself with the memories of Kyiv residents about life in the capital; pave your own route locations or use ready-made ones; discover «additional content» that becomes available within 400 meters of the location.

Earlier we wrote more about the Holodomor museum.


Museum of Justice

Museum of Justice

This is an online museum where anyone can learn about the history of humanity’s struggle for their rights and help to protect those whose rights are being violated right now. The museum was created to draw attention to the biggest human rights event – the Marathon of Writing, which is held annually by Amnesty International. The Museum of Justice has five halls, each of them is dedicated to one aspect of the fight for human rights: «Artefacts of Fight» (human rights events), «Icons of Justice», «Success Stories»; the halls called «Justice Test» and «Mechanism of Fight»  are dedicated to this year’s heroes of the Letter Writing Marathon. This is Amnesty International’s annual global human rights event, taking place on the eve of International Human Rights Day. During the Marathon, everyone who cares can defend the rights of men and women from different countries by signing online petitions to governments, as well as sending letters of solidarity to the heroes and heroines of the campaign.

Prisoners Voice

The augmented reality mobile application draws the attention of the Ukrainian and international community to Ukrainian Kremlin prisoners who have been or are still remained imprisoned in Russia. It also focuses on Russia’s human rights violations in general: not only in prisons, and not only in relation to Ukrainians. «The #PrisonersVoice app is a cultural initiative and works in augmented reality mode, where former political prisoners such as Kolchenko, Sentsov, Balukh, etc. can talk to you. In addition to the app, we are conducting an information campaign that includes interviews with relatives of Kremlin prisoners», said Andriy Kulakov, program director of the Internews-Ukraine NGO.

Vlipy Za Sebe

As part of the #vlipysasebe project, the Global Office and the creative agency ANGRY created an AR game to promote local elections among young people. In the game, you control a «tick». It runs down the street, coming across various monsters on its way. Each monster is one of the usual problems of Ukrainian cities: pits, rubbish, broken benches, king-balconies, etc. When the player opens his mouth, the tick shoots the monster from a laser, and it disappears.


Republic of Minecraft

The Kamyanets-Podilsky Fortress with a tent camp has been recreated in the game Minecraft (a computer game in the genre of sandbox with elements of survival). According to the organizers of Respublica FEST 2020, participants received a rich festival program: they could have listened to a live broadcast of the festival, explore the fortress of the XIV century and also create their own monuments or installations. In addition to the main entertainment part, there were various tasks: about 30 small quests from the festival organizers or representatives of non-profit organizations and charities.

Kamyanets-Podilsky Minecraft


This is a project based on the original book by the author and illustrator Oksana Buly. The video game of the adventure genre will tell about the fairy-tale character Tuconi and his friends in the forest. Tuconi will be available in Ukrainian, English, French, Spanish, German, Czech and Polish. Tuconi will be the first video game based on the Ukrainian book.

Tukoni videoogame Ukrainian book

Magic world.UA

This is about a cultural initiative aimed at restoring and digitalizing Ukrainian mythology. The project combines an application, an online platform, and a board game. Among the mythical heroes that will appear in the app are the proto-Ukrainian gods Perun, Veles, Svarog, the Carpathian character Chugaister, and the Donetsk underground spirit Shubin. The characters were voiced by Ukrainian dubbing actors. Complex visualization and digitalization of the pantheon of heroes of Ukrainian mythology are implemented for the first time in Ukraine.


Pocket Country

«Pocket Country» is a large-scale 3D digitization of Ukraine’s architectural and cultural heritage objects with the support of the UСF (Ukrainian Cultural Foundation). As a part of the project, the organizers want to draw attention to the destruction of architectural monuments in different regions and launch a large-scale campaign to digitize them, capturing their current state and promoting the objects of heritage for local tourism through souvenir AR products. During the expedition, SKEIRON team covered all the 24 regions including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea from east to west and from north to south. The interested ones could take a virtual walk with tourist business cards and landmarks of the regions of Ukraine in an augmented reality format. There is a smartphone in one hand, and a postcard with a picture of a castle, palace or sacred monument in the other. All digitized objects are available as 3D models or in augmented reality in the application on iOS and Android.

Skeiron Pocket Country
Credits: Radio Svoboda

Ukraine Open: tours across Kharkiv region

It tells about a digital project of virtual tours in Kharkiv region: there are 200 aerial panoramas and virtual tours, 20 tourist routes, 36 museums of Slobozhanshchina reproduced in the application. Since July 2020, the filming of the region as tourist content has been held in the form of 3D tours, aerial panoramas, video syncs for the site and a mobile application for iOS and Android. The project contains visual content and audio guides in English and Ukrainian. Virtual routes are divided into categories: tourist routes, historical monuments and museums, aerial panoramas, theatres and galleries, business tourism, accommodation, food and drinks. Additional options for tourists include a poster of local events and direct booking of excursions.


Very Digital Residencies

«Very Digital Residences» is a project whose mission was to rethink the cultural heritage of the cities of Kharkiv and Odessa with the help of modern artistic practices. During the residencies, the participants created many objects, including a mural on the facade of FabLab KhNEU, an AR-sculpture «Time Capsule», a bas-relief «Dialogue Sign» and a VR-project about the House «Word». Earlier, we published a selection of ways to digitize cultural heritage, including the experiences of residents in this matter.