News 18 Dec 2018

An immersive experience waits at the Digital Heritage Play Lab, at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018

We live and work in a digital world, so why should our approach to culture and heritage be any different? Taking an in-depth look at the Digital Heritage Play Lab, CQ explores the idea of digital heritage intertwined with immersive media and interactive storytelling, on display at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa this year.

What is ‘digital heritage’?

Digital Heritage is the use of digital mediums to preserve and disseminate heritage and culture. Digital mediums and tools such as photogrammetry, LiDAR scanning, and extended reality, and others, are incredibly powerful. They allow for the non-destructive documentation of historical and cultural artefacts. Also, the collected data can be used for various purposes as and when required. Not only does this open up new possibilities of research and analysis, but also innovative methods of archiving and displaying while the original object is stored away safely.

What’s the idea behind the Digital Heritage Play Lab?

Museums and other institutions dedicated to preserving and displaying our heritage and culture don’t allow us to interact with the objects on display, and this prevents us from fully engaging with what we see. The Digital Heritage Play Lab, on the other hand, lets its viewers interact and play with artefacts through digital mediums of extended reality, thereby ensuring greater interest, and engagement.

This exhibition at the Serendipity Arts Festival is a culmination of the Goa Heritage Project, a year-long project funded by the British Council and the Prince Claus Fund to explore Goa’s heritage and culture through emergent art and technology platforms such as immersive media, video games and smartphone experiences. In essence, the Play LAb has documented the various interesting facets of Goan heritage, and created interactive digital experiences.

What can one expect to see at the project?

There are a number of installations at the Digital Heritage Play Lab. For instance, there is a room dedicated to the Panjim 175 app, created to enrich people's experiences by directly engaging with the city during the Serendipity Arts Festival. Then, there is a game that are currently being working on, Muse de Goa, as well as an Augmented Reality exhibit that lets users explore the architecture of Goan houses and see them as if they were right in front of their eyes.

There is also a Virtual Reality experience which explores the Narkasura tradition of Goa, and a series of comics that talks about the water situation in a constantly evolving Goa. There are a few publications, and a short film on Panjim, too. Overall, the Digital Heritage Play Lab offers a highly engaging experience which is not only entertaining, but educational, too.

What does the project intend to achieve?

We often take our rich heritage for granted. Through these exhibits, the project wishes to highlight the fascinating stories and beautiful sights we see every day. By inducing a layer of interactivity and play, we intend to create greater engagement with the culture of Goa, especially for younger audiences. By making the experience of engaging with one’s own culture stimulating and insightful, we hope for a shift in attitude towards one of great interest and increased awareness.

Also, check out our feature on the top 5 things to do at the Festival here.

For more information about the Digital Heritage Play Lab, visit the Serendipity Arts Festival website.

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