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Fei Jun: The Real Activation of Cultural Heritage is to Make the Audience Have a Dialogue with Cultural Heritage through Senses
2021-08-30 ICCSD

Recently, the "Creativity 2030" Salon, jointly sponsored by ICCSD, the Cultural Industry Research Institute of Peking University and Beijing Dongcheng Cultural Development Research Institute, was held in Beijing Dongcheng Cultural Development Research Institute. Amid the activity, Fei Jun, Professor and doctoral supervisor of School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), had a dialogue with Zhou Qingshan, Professor of the Department of Information Management of Peking University and researcher of the Cultural Industry Research Institute of Peking University, on the theme of "Digital Technology and Cultural Heritage Activation".

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As science and technology has seen its sky-rocketing advancement, the creative mode, expression mode of cross-media art and the integration between art and science and technology have reconstructed people's way of thinking, feeling and behavior to a considerable extent. Giving life to the cultural relics collected in the museum, the heritage displayed on the vast land and the words written in ancient books plays an important role in inheriting and carrying forward the excellent traditional Chinese culture. At present, museums and cultural institutions around the world are carrying out digital construction based on cultural heritage. The application of digital technology in cultural heritage is an important innovation power of digital cultural industry.

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Fei Jun, Professor of Art and Science and Technology and doctoral supervisor of CAFA

The Foundation of Cultural Heritage Activation - Digitization

At the beginning of the dialogue, Professor Zhou Qingshan proposed how to activate cultural heritage through cross media; How to use digital technology to promote traditional culture; In the field of cultural heritage activation, what new development trends digital technology can bring, etc. Professor Fei Jun shared his views on above topics.

Professor Fei Jun believes that the activation of cultural heritage, especially in the context of digital industry, is not the talk of the town. It is very likely to interpret the activation of cultural heritage as the dynamics of cultural heritage. But in fact, a large number of practices we see are limited to the dynamic level. The activation of cultural heritage is based on digitization. However, on top of digitization and dynamics, activation should also include experiential and even interactive activities, so as to make it more situational. Then the audience can participate in it to obtain experience and realize the dialogue with cultural heritage through senses. Interactivity involves how to let the public participate in activities and pass cultural heritage down from cognition to creation.

Going deeper, activation also includes productization, which means consumerism. This level is very important, because culture can be truly activated only when it is integrated into the daily life. Therefore, activation should not be limited to museums and become synonymous with the form of exhibition, but should go out of museums, into urban space, into various cultural places, commercial space, and even integrate into people's clothing, food, housing and transportation. This process of culture from activation to life is the real activation, which makes the activation form a sustainable and transferable energy.

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The mobile application "Wisdom·Seeking" created by Fei Jun's team for the China Pavilion of the 2019 Venice Art Biennale allows the audience to search the bridge from China on the bridge of the Venice water city. The work turns the Venice water city into a work experience site and provides a fun experience route for the audience going to the China Pavilion.

Attitude toward Cultural Heritage Activation - Maintain Awe

Professor Fei Jun said that when activating cultural heritage, we should always maintain a sense of awe, because when it comes to consumption, it is easy to over-entertain cultural heritage. Although entertainment is one of the important strategies of activation, if not handled properly, it is easy to depreciate the original cultural values. Taking the game as an example, it seems that the game also comes from the re-mining of cultural heritage, but if this exploration only stays in the borrowing of image and the duplication of IP, it is likely to distort the original spiritual value of many cultural heritage. Fei Jun added that, "the value of competitiveness is reflected in awe, which means whether we really respect the spiritual value behind cultural relics always with the professional spirit of cultural relics archaeologists and the ability of artistic creation to dare to break the fixed mode. In other words, we should respect the core values and delve into cultural relics, literature and context, so as to finally form an effective transformation. At present, there is a lack of discussion and education in these aspects."

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The interactive public art works of "Homecoming Bird Set" designed by Professor Fei Jun is located at the international arrival channel of Daxing airport

Backbone of the Activation of Cultural Heritage - Interdisciplinary Cooperation

When talking about the talent team quality required to engage in cross-media art, Professor Fei Jun said that in the process of planning and creativity, a successful project will involve different talents and teams, as well as talent structures including cultural creation, design and exhibition planning. Inter-discipline is an advantage of outward innovation. Almost every project and work comes from the cooperation of various disciplines, including a large number of engineers, programmers and even hardware engineers. He added that his creative team also covers a wide range of talents. When doing projects, they will cooperate with drama director, dance director, curator, and even make-up designers.

The traditional party and cultural heritage activation are interdisciplinary. The difference between the two is that the former wants to explore a more equal voice for narration, while the latter is often defined by a director, and more types of work are carried out around the director's narrative line. The creative method discussed at present includes the trend of drama, curatorial narration and physical narration. Narrative participants can jointly construct a narrative in a more open and equal way. Be it the narration of body, space or image, the streamline is the experience of the audience. This is a new practice, both cross-media and interdisciplinary.

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Fei Jun's VR Interactive Installation Work - Urban Museum - Memory Space-Time Reversal (2016)

Application of Digital Technology in Beijing Central Axis

Different from a building and a cultural relic in the traditional sense, the central axis is a typical city-level module, and its management mode is particularly suitable for the application for world heritage, because a city level cultural heritage needs people to enter the scene to experience, which is critical. "The most effective interpretation of the central axis should be to allow people to enter the central axis. At the same time, people feel the past and future of the city through digital technology. It may be more meaningful if we can superimpose the discovery of the history of the central axis in different times and space on the spot, so that today's experimenters can feel and even participate in it."

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"Reading the City - Exploring the Central Axis of Beijing" Exhibition in The Capital Museum

Visual Chief Designer of the Celebrations of the Party Centenary  "the Great Journey"

This year, on behalf of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Professor Fei Jun participated in the multimedia design of the "Great Journey" show of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the party. He also shared his experience on this project. Professor Fei Jun said that the complexity of such project and that of personal creation are a far cry. They come from two kinds of thinking logic. The temperament required for such a party with strong epic style is different from that of a party with traditional significance, because it not only tells history, but also is different from historical teaching materials, so it needs to find a balance between narrative and artistry. In this regard, his team has done a lot of creative research, and finally hammered out a multimedia image mode with three kinds of creation, including independent narrative image, market image constructed by performance scene and product of interaction between performance and image. Finally, through the exquisite design of the combination of image and performance, it brings the audience a magical experience.

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The Great Journey, a Large-Scale Situational Epic of the Party Centenary

Cultural heritage means a national cultural deposits. Be it profound or not depends not only on how many superior cultures we have, but also on how many brilliant cultures we can embrace and feel today. Digital technology should be made full use to make cultural relics and cultural heritage live, and to constantly enrich the spiritual world of the Chinese people, and promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning. This is what we call "the merit lies in the present and the benefit lies in the future".

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