Pure Land

Project Overview

Project Investigators: Sarah Kenderdine, Jeffrey Shaw, Cédric Maridet
Project Title: Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang

2012-16

Pure Land immerses visitors in the Dunhuang’s Buddhist grotto temples (China), bringing to life a painted mural on the north wall of Cave 220, depicting the paradise of the Eastern Pure Land of the Medicine Buddha.

Pure Land is presented in the Advanced Visualisation and Interaction Environment (AVIE3) — a large 360-degree, panoramic, stereoscopic projection theatre, which offers a true-to-life experience of being inside the cave temple and viewing its magnificent Buddhist wall paintings at 1:1 scale. Using the high-resolution photography and laser-scanned models provided by the Dunhuang Academy, Pure Land constitutes an immersive virtual facsimile that reframes and reconstitutes the extraordinary wealth of the paintings and sculptures found in the Dunhuang caves. The datasets of Cave 220, which comprise its richly narrative murals, become the subject for innovation in heritage interpretation by enhancing the cave’s architectural and photographic representations with animation, 3D modelling, pictorial recolouring, digital enlargement and a rich sound design.

Pure Land’s virtual 1:1 scale 3D visualisation of the cave, in conjunction with its multi-layered, multimedia augmented reality features, constitutes an immersive embodied visual experience that brings new life to the aesthetic, narrative and spiritual drama of these exceptional cave paintings and sculptures. It provides conceptual, technological and operational paradigms for the future of digital preservation, cultural heritage interpretation and an embodied museography.

Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang was created by Sarah Kenderdine (UNSW) and Jeffrey Shaw at the City University of Hong Kong in 2012, in partnership with the custodians of the Mogao Grottoes, the Dunhuang Academy and the Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs.

Exhibition

  • Tang: Treasures from the Silk Road Capital, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2016
  • Hidden Pasts – Digital Futures: A Festival of Immersive Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, 2015
  • Pure Land the 3D Experience, Hengquin, 2014
  • 20th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, Gallery 360, Hong Kong, 2014
  • CityU Information Day, Hong Kong, 2014
  • Digital Heritage 2013, Villa Méditerranée, Marseille, 2013.
  • SIGGRAPH Asia, Gallery 360, Hong Kong, 2013
  • Hong Kong Book Fair, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 2013
  • Limited Knowledge, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2013
  • ISEA 2013 Resistance is Futile, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2013
  • Launch of Mobility Experience Centre, Hong Kong, 2013
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 2012
  • Business of Design Week, Gallery 360, Hong Kong, 2012
  • Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,2012-2015
  • Grand Opening of Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2012