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ZaobaoSG features Fantasium



Online Google Translation from Mandarin


Step into the virtual scene and interact with art


The increasingly mature virtual reality technology can restore real scenes, making people feel as if they are in it, or create surreal virtual scenes, creating immersive audiovisual and interactive experiences, including lost monuments or the future in science fiction. Virtual reality and 3D animation technology can also allow us to recreate on the basis of classic paintings, extending the spatiality and narrative of art.


Technology and art seem to be two parallel lines in the discipline, but in reality they have a great intersection. Their intersection is the infinite space where mankind can create miracles. In Renaissance Europe, Da Vinci made his works both rational and sensual through his anatomical copying of the human body and precise exploration of composition science, transcending the entire era. At the end of the 18th century, the British piano maker John Broadwood (John Broadwood) Through the perfection of piano materials and mechanical devices, a modern piano that can sharply capture the delicate touch is created. Beethoven's famous piano sonata "The Hammer Harpsichord" was written after he received this piano. Its magnificent momentum and dazzling technique are shocking.


The world of new musical instruments and new acoustics has opened up a vast new world for composers, making them surging in music and thinking, soaring in them, as Flaubert said: "Art and science always meet again on the top of the mountain."


2020 is full of subversive aspects of human life. With the empowerment of the Internet, people are getting used to working at home and learning online, and the entire world continues to operate in a new form. As an immersive interactive experience, art cannot be easily replaced by the Internet. Although large and small art groups are actively planning online concerts and art exhibitions, allowing audiences to enjoy music and paintings on computer screens, it is inevitable that they will feel like they are ticking off their boots.


But the advancement of science and technology always brings amazing experiences to mankind again and again. The increasingly mature Virtual Reality (VR) technology has begun to break the barriers between reality and the virtual world: it can restore a real scene and make people feel like being in it, or it can create a virtual scene beyond reality to create a body Immersive audiovisual and interactive experience. For the artistic creation and experience of the new century, this technology is gradually showing its charm and potential...

...Nina Boldyreva, the co-founder of Fantasium, said: "The main purpose of virtual reality technology is to create realistic sensory experiences, not just to reproduce real scenes. Those that have disappeared, or the future of science fiction can become reality in the VR world."

Nina used to be a news anchor for a Russian national television station and is fluent in English and Italian. She moved to the local area with her husband five years ago and obtained a master's degree in art management from LaSalle College of Art. The research direction of her master's thesis is to explore how to use emerging technologies to reshape art and enrich the expression of exhibition.


In March 2019, Nina established Fantasium locally, focusing on planning VR experience workshops, art VR exhibitions, and VR education promotion on campus.

With the support of the French Embassy in Singapore, Fantasium collaborated with Gardens by the Bay to present four special VR experience exhibitions adapted from famous paintings at this year's vOilah! French Cultural Festival.


These four paintings are French painter Manet’s "A Bar at Folies Bergere", Monet's "Water Lilies", Gauguin's "Gauguin's Inner Journey in Tahiti" and Swiss painter Bucklin's "The Isle of Dead". With the immersive experience of VR, the audience can walk into the scene in the painting and listen to the story of the person in the painting face to face. For example, in "A Bar at Folies Bergere", the viewer seems to be thrown into the famous 19th-century Paris theater nightclub as if traveling. The music in the theater and the narration of the barmaid's self-described narration are heard in the ears, telling about her encounter with the painter.


In "The Isle of Dead", the viewer is as if standing above the ocean, letting the god of death sail to the island of death in the painting. The background music is exactly the symphonic poem of the same name inspired by this painting by the Russian composer Rachmaninov, creating the ultimate audio-visual experience.


However, such VR artworks are also expensive to build. It is reported that the production cost of the five-minute "A Bar at Folies Bergere" is about 100,000 Euros (about 160,000 SGD). The four works selected in the experience exhibition were all produced by French directors and introduced by France.


Nina said: "The development of virtual reality and 3D animation technology allows us to recreate on the basis of classic paintings, and extend the spatial and narrative nature of art through the realistic virtual world. This painting experience is subversive. Yes, but also full of creativity."

As a continuation of the VR experience exhibition, visitors can also experience painting in a virtual environment. Unlike VR glasses, VR helmets do not need to be inserted into a mobile phone, and have a more sophisticated built-in display and operating handle. With the help of VR helmets, visitors walk into a three-dimensional canvas that simulates Gardens by the Bay. Through the virtual paintbrush in their hands, visitors can freely use their imagination to plant water lilies by Monet in Gardens by the Bay.


Promote VR technology on campus


Nina believes that the beauty of technology is that it gives humans more space for creativity and imagination can be realized to a greater extent. Therefore, she and her team are very concerned about the promotion and popularization of VR technology on campus, so that children can fully exert their imagination in the most imaginative period. With the support of the Ministry of Education, Fantasium entered the first campus Montfort Primary School, allowing students to experience the charm of VR through extracurricular activities and interest groups.


First, Nina chose four VR works to take students on a time travel. Together they returned to prehistoric civilization, met the primitive people in the cave, and then visited the magnificent ancient Rome and Renaissance Italy together, and also visited the 20th century Museum of Chinese Contemporary Art.


After explaining these histories to the students one by one, Nina encouraged the students to pick up virtual paintbrushes and design skirts for the Mona Lisa, or "create" them in 3D space based on Leonardo's envisioned aircraft drawings. This is both a history lesson and a popular science lesson. More importantly, she allows children to develop their artistic creativity in a broader space since they were young, opening up their thinking.


Mixed-Reality Art Exhibitions


In addition, Fantasium is also actively collaborating with local artists to organize exhibitions through the assistance of VR technology. In October last year, Fantasium took Singapore’s vision of a “wisdom nation” as its theme and strongly invited local muralist Ye Yaozong, painter Yu Danya and digital painter Zenith Chan to join in the creation and successfully held the “Inspiration Nation” exhibition.


In this exhibition, two works can be viewed and experienced with VR devices. Digital painter Zenith Chan reproduced Singapore's landmark buildings in a 3D space, allowing visitors to experience Singapore’s “smart country” in a virtual environment full of science fiction. The other work is drawn on a 3D canvas by a 12-year-old SOTA student Arina Chernova who grew up locally. Nina said that the advancement of technology expands the boundaries of art, so we can create more original works, and then create more art that belongs to Singapore.


Full version of the article is available here.

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