Major New Technology to Dismantle Language Hierarchy

Barrie, ON….Today, TIFT Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak announced details of ARIA: Augmented Reality for Immersive Accessibility, providing new access to audiences and artists to immersive art.

Led by Project Manager Joe Pagnan, ARIA is developing prototype wearable glasses that transcribe and translate over 96 dialects and languages simultaneously in real-time. This tool will help engage audiences who previously may not have felt confident in taking part in participatory work, due to a language barrier. The use of the ARIA translation glasses will similarly enable immersive companies to work with artists who are not fluent English-speakers as well as seek multilingual works that represent diverse cultures and utilize this technology to reimagine traditional pieces of theatre. Immersive producers can now also tour participatory work internationally to non-English speaking audiences with experiences, in which traditional translations would be impractical.

ARIA aims to elevate the company’s practice of inclusion by removing existing barriers to create genuinely equitable theatrical experiences for all involved, especially in interactive and participatory work. Offering an equitable theatrical experience for an audience and artists, ARIA will create an elevated sense of community and foster connection, especially necessary in a post-COVID world.

“Immersive art offers a unique, impactful experience to audiences and, as a company, we strive to support theatrical works to be inclusive to anyone seeking to interact with art in this way. ARIA is a significant step in elevating inclusivity, not by eliminating language from the art, by narrowing the barrier it creates through innovation and creativity.” – Arkady Spivak, Artistic Producer (TIFT).

Engineering the ARIA translation glasses prototype is Boredom Project’s Igor Chernukhin, a professional computer engineer and engineering manager with Airbus Defence and Space division based in Munich, Germany.

ARIA is also developed in collaboration with noted immersive companies Outside the March (Toronto) and Kick and Push Festival (Kingston).

The anticipated date of completion for the ARIA translation glasses is November 1, 2021. ARIA will hold an industry forum showcasing the in-progress prototype this summer, with a full demonstration of ARIA in the last quarter of 2021.