DigiMuse Presents – Discovering History & Culture Via Tech-enabled Experiences

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Recognising the opportunities offered by emerging digital technologies, the National Museum of Singapore will launch DigiMuse Presents on 4 August, unveiling a diverse range of seven digitally-led prototype projects that enhance the journey of cultural discovery for museum-goers. Co-created with digital designers and creative professionals in partnership with cultural institutions and technology companies, DigiMuse Presents will enable you to explore fresh perspectives of culture and heritage via immersive virtual and augmented reality exhibits, dynamic conversations enabled by artificial intelligence, and more.

The newest edition to the wider DigiMuse programme, an initiative by the National Museum of Singapore to lead a vibrant cultural sector invested in digital innovation, DigiMuse Presents brings to life the possibilities of blending history, art and technology. The featured prototype projects were selected from an extensive pool of entries received from the inaugural DigiMuse Open Call for digital art and innovation concepts that concluded in April this year.

Director of the National Museum of Singapore, Angelita Teo, said, “We welcome thoughtful applications of technology that strengthen our visitors’ cognitive and emotional connections with Singapore’s history and heritage. Through creative integrations of culture and technology, along with collaborative industry partnerships, we hope to offer even more experiences that resonate with and inspire our visitors. We continue to be committed to growing the museum as a progressive cultural institution that challenges the boundaries of what is possible, driving innovation for the sector in our contributions to Singapore’s vibrant cultural landscape.”

At the forefront of exploring digital innovation in the cultural sector

At the core of Digimuse Presents and the wider DigiMuse initiative lies a steadfast pursuit of innovation, reflecting the National Museum’s commitment to embracing digitalisation to remain dynamic and relevant in the face of ever-changing industry trends and your preferences. Among the first cultural institutions internationally to launch an initiative of this scale to encourage experimentation in the use of digital technologies in museum experiences, the National Museum is leading Singapore’s cultural sector in offering fresh perspectives of history and culture through engaging with digital innovation.

As part of DigiMuse Presents, the museum is introducing the use of wearable mixed reality technology HoloLens for local museum experiences under Project Insight, where you can enjoy a unique look into the process of conserving artworks. In another first for the cultural scene, DigiMuse Presents will feature a new virtual reality experience An Excavation Through Time, which allows you to “dig up” and uncover buried artefacts from Singapore’s Temasek period. The project will first be featured at the National Museum this month, with plans for it to be showcased at other local cultural institutions later.

Adding valuable insights to ongoing industry discussions, the talk Digital Conversations: Open Call 2018 organised as part of DigiMuse Presents will offer dynamic viewpoints exploring interventions in digital and cultural spaces. As a follow-up dialogue to the featured prototype projects, local and international speakers will share their journey developing projects with museums and cultural institutions in the talk.

A collaboration with different stakeholders of various specialisations in a wider ecosystem

Featuring contributions from homegrown creative technology startups and initiatives such as 360VR Asia, HelloHolo and iMMERSiVELY to community-focused outfits like Big Red Button and It Takes An Island, DigiMuse Presents and the larger DigiMuse initiative were borne out of the National Museum’s partnerships with a myriad of organisations that extend across industries. By engaging local and international organisations in technology and cultural sectors to ideate and create innovative digital solutions, the National Museum encourages creative experimentation in cultural spaces.

Beyond curators and collectors, the National Museum is collaborating with various specialists in the technology space including digital designers, engineers and software programmers to build and strengthen its offerings. Helping to make exhibited works more accessible, prototype projects developed by such technology specialists featured in DigiMuse Presents include the app-based programme Multiplicity developed by homegrown social startup Big Red Button, which enables you to discover different viewpoints from historical characters to form your own conclusions.

Another is the artificial intelligence messenger platform Ask William created by the global Internet of Things messaging company Unified Inbox, which offers you informative nuggets about the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings from “William” himself.

Collaborative, cross-practice efforts showcased in DigiMuse Presents underscore the value of exploring integrations in culture and technology, demonstrating the endless prospects of presenting heritage in new forms. Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘fashion-forward’, the project Beeing Human by design label Baëlf Design will take traditional Singapore fashion to a futuristic realm in a re-imagination of the museum’s collection of traditional cheongsam dresses and delicate Peranakan accessories, created with digital 3D-printing technology.

With DigiMuse as a platform for facilitating digital innovation, emerging and established creators and research institutions have also come together to create digital experiences for the cultural scene, such as Museum Experiential Guide, a mobile-oriented augmented reality experience developed by local multimedia production house Digimagic and Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design and Media. The interactive exhibit will bring you back in time on a vivid journey charting Singapore’s development as a centre for trade in Southeast Asia.

Programme Director of the DigiMuse Project, Jervais Choo, added, “The DigiMuse initiative explores the intersection of technology and culture and opens a gateway for discovering our past to inspire future possibilities. By incorporating a spectrum of digital technologies to communicate our heritage and history in new perspectives, the innovative projects featured in DigiMuse Presents are both educational and enthralling, demonstrating potential instances of how we may interact meaningfully with Singapore’s rich culture and heritage enabled by frontier technologies.”

Exploring DigiMuse Presents at the museum

DigiMuse Presents will be on view from 4 to 26 August 2018 at various locations in the National Museum and its galleries between 10am to 7pm daily. Visitor access to the featured projects is free with General Admission.

DigiMuse Presents is presented by the National Museum of Singapore, an institution of the National Heritage Board, in collaboration with the Asian Civilisations Museum, Autodesk, Da Vinci Kids, Heritage Conservation Centre, The Keris Collector, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, the National Archives of Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore, and the National Parks Board.

Featuring projects developed by 360VR Asia, Baëlf Design, Big Red Button, Digimagic, Nanyang Technological University (School of Art, Design and Media), HelloHolo, iMMERSiVELY, It Takes An Island, and Unified Inbox, the DigiMuse Presents programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the Tote Board, Panasonic, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Institut Français Singapour,andAmbassade de France à Singapour, and Sennheiser.

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