The National Museum of Singapore is the nation’s oldest museum with a progressive mind. Its galleries adopt cutting-edge and multi-perspective ways of representing history and culture to redefine conventional museum experience.
In 2014 the museum closed off the Glass Rotunda, as they wanted to figure out how they could make use of the space in a more significant and relevant manner. This resulted in the Museum collaborating with the Japanese digital art collective teamLab while Broadcast Professional Pte Ltd was responsible for the system integration, content delivery and project management with an emphasis on ensuring an unforgettable immersive experience for visitors.
10th December saw the official re-opening of the Glass Rotunda where an immersive art installation greets visitors before they enter the space. The digital art installation inspired by the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, is entitled Story of the Forest. Visitors will experience this prized collection of the National Museum brought to life through a spectacular interactive digital presentation, and be transported to the natural ecology of 19th century Malaya viewed through the eyes of artists of that time and re-imagined today through digital art and technology.
The Glass Rotunda’s 15-metre-high drum ceiling and 170-metre passageway has been converted into an immersive large-scale Digital Art installation experience – providing a truly unique 360-degree audio and video experience for visitors to be continuously mesmerized. When visitors first enter the Glass Rotunda, they are greeted by the top end of the dome as they walk through a sky bridge to enter the 170m-spiral passageway that will lead them to the Lower Rotunda. The top of the structure projects the infinitely expanding universe where animated flowers of the region bloom and change over time as guests walk through it. The dome itself is 15-metre-high and 12-metre in width and features 17 projectors in the space.
The 170m-spiral passageway brings visitors through an interactive forest inhabited by the animals found in Singapore. As visitors walk down the passageway the scene changes from morning to noon and then to night and also to reflect different local climates. Upon entering the Lower Rotunda, the visitors come back into the night scene. A total of 42 projectors have been installed along the spiral passageway.
Interactivity is key to the experience and is subtly interspersed with the images projected. The interaction proper starts off once visitors enter the spiral passageway from the sky bridge. Sensors have been placed strategically within the passageway that triggers the images to change.
The Lower Rotunda features more sensor triggered interactivity, where if visitors stand close to the wall and wait a few seconds, they will experience an area of ground appear, a seedling sprouting into a 4-metre high tree coupled with lush greenery and animals appear. Falling flowers from the top of the dome to the bottom when encountered by visitors will produce imagery that references the flora and fauna of the region’s natural history.
The interactivity has not been limited to just the sensors. Visitors can download a specially designed App to their smart devices. The state of the art application allows the visitors to point their smart device cameras at the projected images to track any selected character and get further informative knowledge of them. The projectors featured in the entire space are the Panasonic RZ670 models, considered as the world’s first laser light source 1-chip DLP projectors featuring 6,500 lumens of brightness. Community DS-5 loudspeakers were the main source of audio reinforcement complemented with EAW MK8126i loudspeakers at specific spaces.
“Story of the Forest at the revamped Glass Rotunda is inspired by the region’s rich ecological heritage, and reminds us of the museum’s early beginnings almost 130 years ago. It also reflects how the National Museum is evolving and progressing, working with artists and partners to adopt innovative methods to offer our visitors new ways of looking at Singapore’s social history and culture. A project of such a challenging and ambitious scale is only possible through excellent coordination and project management, which Broadcast Professional demonstrated throughout to ensure a good quality outcome,” said Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore. “This has been a very interesting project for us. It was a truly collaborative effort working with the
Museum and teamLab in creating this very large interactive digital canvas. The content and the technology had to work hand-in-hand for a memorable visitor experience and we are pleased to have been involved in this one of a kind project,” shared John Paul Tan, Sales Manager, Broadcast Professional Pte Ltd.