Penang launches its first Augmented Reality park


Imagine taking in the peaceful atmosphere of a public park and checking out the world of art from a whole new perspective – both at the same time!

Visitors to the Armenian Park can do so now, thanks to the newly-launched ARmenian Park project.

A collaboration between Penang Art District and Perk Reality, this project offers visitors the opportunity to appreciate art using Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

Penang Tourism and Creative Economy (Petace) Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said while there were several private initiatives which allow shoppers in shopping malls to experience AR technology in Malaysia, Armenian Park was believed to be the first AR park in the country.

“Armenian Street is one of the popular tourist spots in Penang. Integrating AR art in Armenian Park can maximise the tourist experience and add value to the destination itself.

armenian-park-launch3“Through AR technology, we can provide a new channel for artists, both local and international, to showcase their work. AR technology allows us to overcome obstacles related to art exhibitions, such as geographical constraints, physical space limitations, or operation hours of a physical art gallery or museum.

“AR makes it easier for artists to reach a wider audience. Their work can now be experienced in any location, as long as the viewer has a smartphone or a tablet,” he said in his speech before the launching ceremony of the ARmenian Park project yesterday.

Yeoh added that the Penang government had been adopting holistic methods which emphasised sustainability and personalisation to enhance the travel experience through digital technology.

The ARmenian Park project is supported by the Penang government, Petace, Penang Island City Council and the Penang2030 team.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow lauded the success of the ARmenian Park project.

“You are changing the name of our park… from Armenian Park to ARmenian Park,” Chow said in jest.

“I believe that you have chosen Armenian Park (to kickstart the project) because it has the letters ‘AR’ in its name.

“Well…we have two or three more parks with ‘AR’ in their names, and you can work on them next.

“We have the Areca Park in Sungai Pinang, and the Ara River Linear Park (Taman Jajar Sungai Ara) in Sungai Ara.

“So, you can continue to work on the ‘AR’ parks in Penang. You are welcome to explore other (potential) ‘AR’ parks in the state,” he said, receiving applause from the visitors at Armenian Park.

armenian-park-launch-2Chow said the Armenian Park is now an ‘open-air gallery’.

“The adoption of AR technology brings together the physical and digital worlds through new and exciting ways, allowing visitors to experience art from a different perspective.

“The AR technology can also provide visitors with additional information about the art on display. This helps visitors to better understand and appreciate the work of the artists.

“Art plays a significant role in the preservation of a country’s cultural heritage. In Penang, art is an essential aspect of our cultural identity, reflecting our values, beliefs, and heritage,” he said.

Chow added that the AR technology in Armenian Park broadened the possibilities of exhibiting art in places other than galleries or museums.

“We believe that this AR park in Armenian Street will establish itself as a new landmark for Penang., attracting visitors to experience the magic of AR technology and art.

“We hope that this park will inspire creativity, and innovation, and bring people together to experience something truly special; in line with the Penang2030 vision,” he said.

It is learnt that Penang Art District has provided funding of RM30,000 for the purchase and installation of AR technology in Armenian Park, with Perk Reality providing service and maintenance of the technology.

Chow thanked Yeoh, Penang Art District and Perk Reality for making this project a success.

Also present were Chow’s wife Tan Lean Kee, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, Perk Reality founder Aboud Fares, Taipei Economy and Cultural Office (cultural division) director Ellen Ko, and Penang Art District project manager Kenny Ng.

Ng said there were 19 ‘scan boards’ in Armenian Park for visitors to scan with their smartphones or tablets; after which, they can experience the magic of AR and view the content.

“We will change the content (artworks) monthly, providing a platform for more artists to showcase their work,” Ng said.

Visitors need to download and turn on the Perk Reality application to experience the AR technology.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

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