MindLab secured the City of Geelong Art Industry Commission for the year 2020

Mediated Intelligence in Design

MindLab secured the City of Geelong Art Industry Commission for the year 2020

13 November 2020, Geelong

Project Title: (In)tangible Heritage of the Greater Geelong: Public City Space as Virtual Museum

Deakin University MindLab teamed up with the artist/curator Malcolm McKinnon to create interactive digital heritage platform that will transform and connect historically significant public spaces of the City of Greater Geelong into virtual museum by using Matterport-3D technology and available digitalised archival material. We will use existing heritage data of different formats, currently stored throughout various archives/libraries including digital archives such as Trove, to recover memories and animate historical records tied to specific city locations to allow virtual visitor in present to engage, experience and reinterpret the past of the city in a completely novel way. Virtual 3D-tours, accessible through personal home computers or smart mobile devices via new heritage web page, will allow users to immerse into the present scenery of the urban Geelong landscape infused by historical information through “annotations,” incorporated spatial points that contain actual archival material distributed and organised through the application by digital storytelling and curating. We will use tested technology that will run smoothly on any device to provide service without interruption. Our aim is to increase curiosity, comfort of engagement, and enjoyment and let visitors re-connect with Geelong’s past. We will provide the end user with completely innovative exploration tool to browse through the space and time simultaneously. Both, local community members but also outsiders, would have a chance to explore the virtual city with fresh eyes.

This work is propelled by a sense of urgency: the cultural landscapes that inspire all of us and carry tremendous cultural significance are under increasing threat. Urban landscape of CoGG changes rapidly, erasing all physical traces of the city before, and at the same time, erasing people’s life-stories, memories and pasts. By following the goals of UNESCO’s 2030 “Agenda for Sustainable Development”, our work seeks to “strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage” through application of innovative digital technologies, such as AI, data recognition, Virtual/Augmented Reality, etc. We seek to provide a testimonial of the city’s hidden past that may otherwise be lost and forgotten due to rapid urban development, recent natural disasters, and currently, lack of physical accessibility and emotional attachment to the city spaces due to Covid-19 pandemic. Through this work we aim to contribute to the resilient cultural landscape of the city and the region, easily adaptable for any future uncertainty by utilising many advances of modern technology and big data. This project will challenge the way we think about the heritage industry by using current unpredictable conditions as our advantage.

Copyrights: MindLab, Deakin University