NPM x KMFA: New Horizons—New Media Art Exhibition

NPM x KMFA: New Horizons—New Media Art Exhibition is co-organized by the National Palace Museum and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. Through the interpretation of new media art and the curatorial practices of the two museums, the exhibition renders the rich cultural heritage of the National Palace Museum in a new light and offers audiences a brand new aesthetic experience. Drawing inspiration from the ancient literary event famously recorded in Wang Hsi-chih’s Orchid Pavilion Preface, the exhibition creates the poetic ambiance of a contemporary literary gathering by weaving the Original Dingwu Copy of the Orchid Pavilion Preface housed in the National Palace Museum into its framework. The exhibition is divided into the following sections: A Game of Floating Goblets; Beautiful, Bountiful Nature; and Euphoria of Sight and Spirit, and features voice-control and haptic interactive installations, immersive theaters, virtual reality, augmented reality and other multimedia works.

“A Game of Floating Goblets” recreates the poetic imagery of the literary wine-drinking game illustrated in the Orchid Pavilion Preface. The Classical Theater Pavilion located in this section features a selection of films introducing the NPM’s masterpiece collection, showcasing the exquisite details and beauty of the artifacts through innovative representational methods and high-resolution technology. “Beautiful, Bountiful Nature” is an ode to the beauty of nature and presents new media art renditions of the mountains, figures, birds and flowers from ancient artifacts. Inspired by Guo Xi’s Early Spring, the interactive theater “Into the Painting” shown in this section recreates the majestic vitality of classical Chinese landscapes and its aesthetic capacity “to amble, to behold, to wander, and to abide.” “Through the Boundless Desert” combines haptic interactive technology and voice-activated technology to render the story of Kublai Khan and his entourage on their way to the hunting grounds in the Gobi desert. The immersive generative artwork “Plum Blossoms in the Moonlight” presents a surreal plum field that combines the NPM’s antiquity collection with literary texts and brings to life the elegant splendor of the museum’s ancient flower vessels.

“Euphoria of Sight and Spirit” utilizes virtual reality, augmented reality and large-scale video walls to appeal to the senses. “The Spirit of Autobiography” shown in this section is the world’s first calligraphy virtual reality experience and reinterprets the speed and vigor of the wild cursive script in Autobiography through contemporary dance; audiences can also practice their calligraphy with a virtual brush. In the VR experience “Roaming through Fantasy Land”, audiences explore the blue-and-green landscape of the literati painting Autumn Colors in the Qiao and Hua Mountains. In the section “the Literary Art of Writing”, the celebrated works of Northern Song dynasty calligraphists Su Shi and Huang Ting-chien are illuminated and transformed into large-scale video installations, rendering the dramatic interplay between the fluctuating emotions in Su Shi’s Cold Food Observance and Huang Ting-chien’s mischievous response in the work “Besotted by Flower Vapors”. Through the augmented reality program “Stamps of Landscape,” audience members are ultimately able to create their own ancient landscapes by rearranging the digital elements on the screen.

Through multi-sensory, co-creative, immersive displays and virtual reality experiences, visitors are now able to interact with museums and view the artifacts in ways never before thought possible. For this exhibition, the NPM and KMFA join hands to usher in new forms of expression and educational ideals for museums, hoping to facilitate more dialogue and interaction between the audience and the ancient artworks and to open up new horizons for future museum collaborations.