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The 2nd Culture + Tech International Forum and Immersive Digital Exhibition by the Palace Museum and Tencent T-Museum Held in Shenzhen

Updated: 2021-12-15 13:23:57
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In November 2017, the Palace Museum and Tencent jointly held the first Culture + Tech International Forum in Beijing. After four years of creative development, the organizers are seeking to explore ways in which museums around the world are experiencing how new technology has influenced and changed the industry, especially throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic. On 15 December 2021, the Palace Museum and Tencent, along with the Chinese Museums Association museum-digitalization committee and the Cultural Relics Society of China informatization committee, held the 2nd Culture + Tech International Forum at the Tencent Binhai Building in Shenzhen.

The theme for this year’s forum is “Impact and Enlightenment: New Leaps in Digital Cultural Services”, which aims to advance the conceptual promotion of digitalization in museums, innovation of applications of new technologies, and the shared exploration of the development of culture and technology. Over fifty specialists from museums, universities, and technology corporations in China and around the world participated in this discourse on the future of museums in this digital age.

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Honored guests from the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Chinese Museums Association, and other organizations attended and spoke at the forum in person or via livestream.

During the opening ceremony, the Palace Museum’s Director Wang Xudong noted how this 2nd “Culture + Tech” International Forum aims at bringing together the best cultural and technological resources to create an international academic platform. He said that in this digital age and during the pandemic, we need to have a far-reaching vision, reevaluate the orientation and mission of museums, and explore how to describe the multiculturalism of cultural heritage and how to give new life to cultural heritage via elucidating the proposition of innovative transformation and development.

Cheng Wu, vice president of Tencent Holdings Limited, recounted how the Palace Museum began cooperation with Tencent to explore museum digitization in 2016 to create new cultural products such as digitized features with classical Chinese art and music to attract young people to traditional Chinese culture all while using new technology to collect data and lay a technical foundation for WeChat applets for the Digital Palace Museum in order to add cultural heritage to the cloud for convenient access. These efforts grant new technical and cultural capabilities to Chinese museums by means of a unique Chinese mode of innovation and contribute a Chinese formula to the global sphere of museums and cultural institutions. The projects are also an important realization of Tencent’s “Tech for Good” mission.

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The vice-president of the International Council of Museums and directors of museums in China and various countries presented keynote addresses.

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The forum was held over a period of two days with three sub-forums: “Resonance: Global Perspective on New Developments in Digital Culture”, “Invigoration: Digital Transformation of Traditional Culture”, and “Eruption: Integration and Elevation of Digital Cultural Services”. The sessions combined case studies with discussion on practical implementation of cultural and technical programs centered around the development, efficacy, and ecology of digital services from multidimensional perspectives.

The forum also included a special salon for the Greater Bay Area with five guests from the Macao SAR Government Cultural Affairs Bureau, Palace Museum, Guangdong Museum, Hong Kong Museum of History, and Tencent to address issues related to the Greater Bay Area’s cultural policies, planning, and resources and exchange and training for talents in Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland China, including traditional-cultural exchange for youth in the area and for training of talents in Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland China.

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The Palace Museum and Tencent have also jointly organized “The Way in Patterns: An Immersive Digital Exhibition by the Palace Museum and Tencent T-Museum”, which was opened during the forum. The exhibition is the Shenzhen premiere of the Palace Museum’s ultra-high precision “digital cultural relics” with featured VR and AR renderings of the Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service (Juanqin zhai). Following the success of the applet “Exploring the Cabinet of Curiosities” (Changyou duobao ge), which showcases patterns on artworks in the Palace Museum collection, the Palace Museum has once again joined with Tencent to produce this exhibition with immersive digital experiences, image searches, 3D renderings, and sound effects that lead visitors on an exploration of the beauty of traditional Chinese patterns.

The exhibition has seven sections in which visitors may appreciate 3D digital artworks reaching as high as 5.3 meters, twenty-two enlarged high-definition artworks, and Easter eggs in an experience that transcends reality. The exhibition also includes ten spots for visitors to enjoy the four seasons in the Forbidden City and take unique photographs.

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On view at Sea World Culture & Arts Center in Shenzhen, the exhibition runs from 18 December 2021 through 12 February 2022. Admission is free with a reservation through the “Digital Palace Museum” (Shuzi Gugong) applet.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu
 

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