The 4th Soochow University Reality Arts Festival officially kicked off at the end of 2020 at the school’s two campuses, with 24 visual artists and over 50 SU students creating over 115 augmented reality (AR) artworks in a span of four years.
Over 20 distinguished guests, including participating artists, celebrated the grand opening at the tea party and news conference, talking about the themes and ideas of their creations for this largest outdoor AR festival of realistic interactive land art in Taiwan.
SU President Wei-Ta Pan said to the press that there’ll be an inseparable relationship between technology and human society, and that “technology always starts from humanity,” just as the famous slogan is translated.
Marking its fourth year, the festival featured even more stunning works of art this time. Three vigorous boars created by Pahawlan Cilan sit in front of the school emblem wall; a dreamlike bubble gallery carved by Ruo-Han Cheng at the fore of girls’ dormitory; a fairytale at Waishuangsi happening after rain narrated by Quan-Ju Lin.
Other contributing artists included: Yu-Hao Hong, who throws audiences into the world of VR to experience the changes of the University in time and space; Yu-Jia Zhang, who turns app users into missionaries who assisted Soochow’s reestablishment as virtual Blue Magpies hopping around Waishuangsi campus.
The long-term arts exhibition has been jointly organized and presented since 2017 by T Hub (Tomorrow Hub), Hu’s Art, a famous curatorial team, and Corma New Media, a professional AR software engineering team. From its second year in 2018, two artists would lead Soochow students to co-create artworks each year. In the past four years, the festival has invited a total of 24 artists creating 29 works of art (including 6 pieces co-created with students).
Starting from 12 art selections in the first year, the project explored new aesthetic ways of presentation with its engineering team every year. In the second year, a great amount of students’ creativity was added into works, and in the third year, participating students were guided to create VR exhibits and to use patented technology to connect AR and VR works. Now in the fourth year in 2020, it has further evolved into producing interactive works in the utility of “Spark AR,” which is capable of facial recognition.
The school has established “Soochow University Mass Data Analysis and Research Center” in 2012, the “School of Big Data Management” in 2015, and the “Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence Research” in 2018, showing SU’s stress and effort on new technology education.
“T Hub,” which was set up in 2017 by Associate Professor Wei-Gong Liu of Sociology Department, has launched its “Office of Promotion for Virtualized World,” leading Soochow students to learn from doing, and to explore the practical application of reality technology including VR and AR.
President Pan also emphasized that the existing academic framework can no longer meet the needs of today’s fast-changing society; therefore, shifting teaching paradigms and integrating interdisciplinary knowledge are imperative, and Soochow will give full scope of creativity under limited resources with humanity as its core concept to create a digital learning environment and flip the classroom.
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