Though we always assumed that actress, artist, fashion icon Tilda Swinton forgoes phones for a direct line with God, it appears she at least borrowed one to show off Google’s new AR ap, and in doing so, she makes the Big Bang seem like an even bigger deal.
As part of their partnership with European research organization CERN (the folks behind the Large Hadron Collider), Google Arts & Culture has created an augmented reality application that lets your fingertips walk you through the 13.8 billion years of our universe like you’ve never seen it before. And better yet, like you’ve never heard it before: with The Immortal Tilda Swinton as your guide.
"Tilda Swinton provides the English voiceover for the experience. She has been a long standing friend of the researchers at CERN and when they reached out to her she was happy to contribute," Michelle Timmerman, Google Arts & Culture spokesperson, tells SYFY WIRE. "As an actress, Tilda Swinton has created entire worlds (sometimes otherworldly ones). Her passion for both science and storytelling make her a uniquely fitting guide to the evolution of our universe."
Here’s a small taste of the project’s epic grandeur:
It’s mind boggling to just read that intro: “The Big Bang: the moment a tiny speck, packed with energy, suddenly expanded, giving birth to space and time.” But’s it’s a whole ‘nother level of wondrous awesome to hear Swinton recite those words. And with CERN on board, the whole 360-degree, fully interactive and instructional AR experience is equally impressive.
"CERN physicists worked closely with us and provided the latest scientific insight and expert guidance on just how the world around us came to be. We're always looking for new ways for people to engage with and see themselves in art and science," says Timmerman. "That's why one of my favorite parts is how this app ends in a star selfie ... because we are all made of stardust, after all."
To start taking star selfies of yourself, download The Big Bang AR ap to tech-appropriate phones at the Google Arts & Culture landing page.
While you’re hanging out at Google Arts & Culture, you can also get a gander at what looks very much like an online museum, a new digital exhibit exploring the millenia of human inventions titled Once Upon a Try. Google also partners with CERN for this experience, as well as with NASA, the Smithsonian, and over other 100 museums around the globe.
Within, you can find all sorts of stuff, like 127,000 historic NASA pictures, 360-degree tours of the Space Shuttle Discovery and ISS, or the fact that Thomas Jefferson invented the first swivel chair, from which he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
"Once Upon a Try is all about first attempts and journeys of — at times, unexpected — discovery. Through surprising stories of the ordinary objects scattered around our homes, or of diverse inventors who have left a mark on history, we hope Once Upon A Try gives people that extra boost to find their very own 'eureka!' moment," says Timmerman. "There's something special about bringing complex concepts — the nature of the universe itself! — into the palm of someone's hand, or the familiarity of their living room."
With such tools at your fingertips, as Swinton says with confidence-building mystique, "You too could be a part of the next big discoveries about the nature of our universe."