2015 San Francisco, United States
Collaborator: Jeffrey Shaw, Stefan Greuter
Pure Land UNWIRED is the third in a series of virtual and augmented reality installations that explore sensorial and experiential exhibition technologies and 3D imaging data. The Pure Land projects are based on the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Mogao Grottoes, Gansu Province, northwestern China. The research and immersive applications developed are focused on Cave 220, known for the importance of its early Tang murals.
The peerless treasuries of paintings and sculptures at Dunhuang are extremely vulnerable and many caves are closed to public, including Cave 220. Comprehensive digitization including laser scanning and ultra high-resolution camera array photography are now undertaken by the Dunhuang Academy as a primary method of preservation and interpretation for the site.
The digital facsimiles of this paragon of Chinese Buddhist art can be transformed, providing formative personal experiences for museum visitors. The Pure Land projects contribute to new strategies for rendering this cultural heritage landscapes, redefining futures for digital preservation, cultural heritage interpretation, and embodied museography.
Pure Land UNWIRED integrates a wireless solution that allows full-body immersion in virtual reality while walking around inside Cave 220 at 1:1 scale. The VR platform combines a Head Mounted Display (Oculus Rift), with a depth-based camera (Kinect2) capturing movement of body and limbs within a space that is similar to the size Cave itself. A tablet computer, carried in a backpack, runs VR software (Unity) with custom integration.