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‘Floating Civilization’ displays masterpieces in Beijing

An exhibition called “Floating Civilization” opened over the weekend at the World Art Museum in Beijing. The multimedia show has brought display masterpieces from six world-renowned museums under one roof, and it goes beyond still images.

Chimney smoke. A lady walking down the road. The idyllic scenery portrayed in the painting no longer stands still, but has been turned into holographic images. Imaginations are visualized, adding a vivid touch to the original work. And simulations of rare art items are introduced with a 360-degree view, making the objects more real.

The multimedia exhibition encompasses essential pieces housed by the Louvre Museum in France, Prado Museum in Spain, Hermitage Museum in Russia, Uffizi Gallery in Italy, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the States and the British Museum in the UK. With the help of special effects, lighting and sound, video projection and multimedia technology, original works are invigorated with a new life.

All the offline exhibits can be found through a smartphone application called “Art Century,” which was released alongside the opening of the physical exhibition. Ji Pengcheng, the executive director of World Art Museum, says his team discovered that many top-notch museums have opened their data to the general public free of charge, but unfortunately it has mostly gone unnoticed. That’s how this app came into being.

“For example, the Louvre portal has different language versions like Mandarin and French, but whether the habits and the depth of reading and many other interactive online activities can really meet the needs of netizens or not is an issue worth discussing. So we feel the urge to integrate and optimize all the data, so that the public can find it accessible and apprehend it quite easily,” Ji said.

Both the online app and the offline exhibition are example projects of the Arts Future Lab, co-launched by the World Art Museum and Yuntoo, an Internet-based platform for visual content distributing and sharing. The enormous amount of cloud data helps the public tailor-make the contents of their interests. What’s more, the laboratory attempts to explore the expressive possibilities of future art, explains the technical partner of Yuntoo, Zhou Dongbin.

“Our core concept is to combine art with technology. We are striving to elevate and redefine art in a technical manner and get involved in the whole art making process, and to change the way art influences people’s lives,” Zhou said.

“Floating Civilization” runs at the World Art Museum until April 10th. It will then be followed by “Impression Monnai” and “Tutankhamun” exhibitions, both of which were designed by the Arts Future Lab.