Virtuale stands for Virtual Biennale and is a Festival for public space using new digital tools not only to view the artworks and to interact with them, but also to design the experience of participation itself.
The program content for Virtuale focuses on the use of public space, mobile communication technologies, and explores the types of audiences found in public space, inventing “playful” new strategies to bring the public into the exhibit as “real” visitors being offered a unique experience.
The project encompasses Artworks using Augmented Reality, Urban or Location Based Gaming, and Digital Heritage applications. It is interdisciplinary, bridging areas such as art and technology, digital heritage and tourism, as well as digital culture and art mediation.
The Butterfly Lovers – Derived from a popular Chinese folktale Butterfly Lovers, the painted figures in traditional costumes are placed at varied locations around the world. Utilizing Augmented Reality, the work addresses issues of Chinese diaspora and cultural identity, and visualizes the restless, roaming cultural spirit of the East hidden in western metropolis.
The Crystal Coffin – The augmentation is inspired by the crystal coffin displayed in Mausoleum of Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Square since 1977, a year after Mao’s death. In the twenty first century, while China has been transforming itself into a modern society in many ways and gaining more influences economically and politically around the globe, Mao’s crystal coffin, the immortal-looking shell, remains exist as a symbol of authoritarian ruling system. During spring 2011, a crackdown on dissent – including detaining many intellectuals and members of religious group – followed by distinct signs of revival of Maoist policies, has left people baffled about the future direction of China. We therefore use Crystal Coffin of Mao as main body of the virtual China Pavilion topped with a tower and roof with ancient Chinese looking, as regulated by Ministry of Construction of China: architectural ‘designs must reflect traditional Chinese building styles’.