This year’s World Economic Forum “Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015” took place in Dalian, China. Three geodesic domes – the Cave Dome, the Virtual Reality Dome und the Health Dome were installed in the main lobby of the congress building and hosted a range of activities and discussions during the accompanying congress program. The program tracks were devoted to such socially relevant themes as the present refugee crisis and the destruction of World Heritage sites in war-struck regions.
The project “Pure Land: The Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang” by the Australian artists Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw was presented in the new ZENDOME.COCOON.
Visitors could virtually step inside one of the famous Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The grottoes are an ensemble of almost 500 caves in the Dunhuang region, that have been constructed inside cliffs by Buddhist monks almost 1.500 years ago. The walls and ceilings of the caves are painted with elaborate religious imagery and decorated with sculptures.
Unfortunately, the constant flow of visitors flocking to the beautiful Mogao Grottoes have left their trace: a part of the caves had to be closed to the public in order to prevent further deterioration of the artworks. The sensual experience of setting foot inside the „Cave 220“ was once again possible with the help of this digital replica. Standing beneath the Cave Dome’s sloping ceiling, visitors were transported to the desert caves and invited to browse through the collection of ancient objects, all represented in larger-than-life 3D imaging. The project is a good example of the potential VR technologies have for the presentation and preservation of cultural heritage.
Inside the Virtual Reality Dome, visitors experienced the film “Clouds over Sidra“ through VR glasses. It is a documentary that shows the everyday life of a Syrian girl in a refugee camp in Jordan.
In the Health Dome, Tai-Chi workshops were offered to the public, and lectures were held where conference participants could get informed about the newest health and lifestyle trends.