Photo Credit: VisitOslo

Ibsen brought back to life with new augmented reality app

With VisitOSLO’s new AR- app “Oslo Spex” you can join Henrik Ibsen, the famous Norwegian playwright and “the father of realism”, on a tour through the streets of Oslo.

More than a 100 years ago, Henrik Ibsen was a well-known sight on the streets of Oslo – and now he’s back, says Widar Pastoor at VisitOSLO. He continues: – The format is playful and engaging – you can even take a picture with Ibsen!

Oslo Spex is a new augmented reality (AR)-application, free of charge, for smart phones with a focus on Henrik Ibsen and Oslo. In the app you get information through sound and text, both in English and Norwegian.

Photo Credit: VisitOslo

Take a walk in the footsteps of Ibsen

In the app, we have put together many different stories about Ibsen’s life, art and his relationship with Oslo. In the app, you will find a full-scale animation of Ibsen, located in six places around the city, which all have a connection to Ibsen’s life and work, including outside the Ibsen Museum (Ibsen’s former flat) and Grand Hotel. The app is equipped with an interactive map that makes it easy to locate the spots where Ibsen appears.

Ibsen lived in a completely different time and in a city that looked quite different from what it does today. In the 19th century, Oslo was named Christiania and was only five per cent of the population it is today. The Oslo Spex app brings Ibsen’s fascinating world back to life.

Photo Credit: VisitOslo

“The father of realism”

Henrik Ibsen is often referred to as “the father of realism” and is one of the most frequently performed dramatists in the world after Shakespeare. He had a special relationship with the city of Christiana, where he wrote and directed at Christiana Theatre. He lived many years abroad, in Germany and Italy mostly, but most of the plays he wrote took place in Christiania. He came back to his Norway later in life and lived many years in the capital before he died in 1906.

The making of a true Henrik Ibsen

The “Oslo Spex”- app has been developed through a collaboration between VisitOSLO, the Norwegian technology company Haptiq AS and The Norwegian Ibsen Company, founded by Kåre Conradi. The latter has prepared script and direction.

“It has been important for us to be true to Ibsen’s appearance and his demeanour. Ibsen has been described by others as everything from warm and funny to hard, cold and distanced with a razor-sharp look. His distinctive features lie in the details,”
says Conradi.

Kåre Conradi is one of Norway’s leading actors on Ibsen and a life-time employee at The National Theatre of Norway. Many will also recognize him from the role Jens Smit in Netflix’ Viking drama Norsemen.

It has been a challenging task to make a credible Henrik Ibsen. There are no audio recordings or film clips of him. Inspiration is taken from photos, drawings, paintings and what has been said and written about him. In addition, biographies and letters are used to find different character descriptions; everything to make Ibsen as close to reality as possible. The famous playwright is portrayed in the app through the Norwegian actor Jan Sælid.

Photo Credit: VisitOslo/Didrick Stenersen

The possibilities of technology

Today, we usually have a smartphone with us when exploring new places. AR- technology enables us to interact with Oslo and the city’s fascinating stories in completely new ways. Ståle Lund-Andersen, one of the founders of Haptiq AS, who have been in charge of animation and technical development in the project, says:

“The project Oslo Spex has given us the opportunity to unfold artistically and creatively. We are very pleased with the result, and hope that the users will enjoy how they get to experience Ibsen and the city of Oslo in a completely new way.”

Places you can encounter Ibsen with the “Oslo Spex” app:
– By the Ibsen Museum (Ibsen’s apartment in Arbins gate 1)
– Outside his residence in the venerable Victoria Terrasse
– By Domus Academica (University of Oslo downtown campus)
– By the statue of Ibsen outside the National Theatre
– Outside Grand Café

…and at a secret spot that is revealed in the app after you have visited all the other locations

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