Art gallery lets visitors 'relive' history through technology

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2017 12:25 AM

An art gallery in Quezon City lets its visitors relive history with the help of augmented reality.

Days before the country celebrates the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Gateway Gallery launched SiningLakbay, a digital interface program to complement its SiningSaysay: History Through Art Exhibit.

Ten out of the 30 artworks depicting different scenes in Philippine history were equipped with an augmented reality (AR) feature.

Through a mobile application, visitors can watch a video with additional information about the historical period depicted in the painting.

Rowell Recinto, a member of the executive committee of the Gateway Gallery, said the paintings were chosen depending on the amount of information and material about the specific period in history.

"It spans a certain time, and practical purposes, mas madaling kunin 'yung facts (it's easier to get the facts). Because of the time that we had, that's the more convenient (approach)," Recinto said.

Recinto added there are plans to equip all 30 artworks with the AR feature in the coming years.

KEEPING UP WITH THE YOUNGER GENERATION

According to Recinto, the gallery thought of adding the AR feature to the paintings because most of the visitors of the gallery are students and "digital natives."

"Obviously, you want them to consume, so we have to make it interesting on how they're going to consume history. Since they are into this . . . they are very tech-savvy. In fact, most of the guys coming here, digital native na. We have to find a way for them to understand, to hold their attention, so to speak. And I think that's (augmented reality feature) a pretty good way to hold their attention," he explained.

Recinto also said AR is a cutting-edge version of the usual audio guides in museums.

"This would grab people's attention. We were really thinking about what you have in the usual museums, the guides, instead of press 1, press 2 . . . We said there must be a better way to do it," he added.

For Recinto, the gallery made sure the videos it shows to the people are factual and devoid of interpretation.

"We had to make sure that what we have are really facts. So we have to do the storyboards, present it to the historians. Once the historians approve, once they say, 'OK, go 'yan,' that is how everyone knows it, that's what is recorded, then we're going to shoot it," he explained.

DOWNLOAD, SCAN, LEARN

One-third of the artworks on display, or 10 paintings, are equipped with the augmented reality feature. The selected artworks depict different periods of Philippine history, from the coming of the first inhabitants of the archipelago, to the coming of the Spaniards, to the declaration of Martial Law until the term of former president Benigno Aquino III.

To use the AR feature, one has to download the Layar app on a mobile device. Using the app, scan the paintings marked with the Layar logo, and watch history unfold.

For Recinto, the artworks in Gateway Gallery are meant to give the younger generation what they need to know about the country's history.

"Papupuntahin mo 'yung mga bata dito, bata 'yan, 'di ba? At least give them the real history, 'wag mo nang i-interject . . . bata 'yan," he said.

" Yan lang ang objective namin dito. Makita mo lahat 'yan, wala kaming sinabi diyan na opinion or commentary . . . We owe that to our kids."