CULTURE & HERITAGE
PENANG STORIES
mygeorgetown: Capturing George Town in 360 Degrees

What may look like red standalone speakers are in fact, a metal shell that is fitted with six cameras to capture and film its surroundings. This is all part of a public space project titled 'mygeorgetown', which documents the daily rhythms of our George Town World Heritage Site.



The Penang Institute-initiated project will be one of the many events to be launched in George Town Festival (1 - 31 August 2014). The creativity that is paired with this virtual documentation of George Town will surely appeal to you. The 'mygeorgetown' project consists of three aspects. As Penang Institute's Head of City Stuart MacDonald explains, one includes traditional and 360 degree photography; another is 360 degree time-lapse videos; and third is a map that emphasises the connectivity, accessibility and walkability of the George Town World Heritage Site.

Aside from the architectural styles and features of the buildings in George Town, the project's objective is to cast a greater attention to the spaces in between. 'Equal recognition needs to be given to both the living and built aspects of the urban landscape and recognition of the tangible and intangible components of each,' MacDonald says on how the idea of the project came about. 'When looking at the long term sustainability of the George Town World Heritage Site, it is important to retain the strong sense of connectivity between working, living and recreational opportunities in the city.'

An interesting feature of the 'mygeorgetown' project is the visual experience of George Town in panorama using a virtual reality headset. To bring George Town to live, the process requires different scenes of George Town to be captured and compiled as well as live sound clips. 'So far we have collected around 25 sounds, ranging from some of George Town's traditional crafts people at work, to wet markets, to the sounds of food cooking to the sounds of our religious institutions,' MacDonald describes.

While the process involves heavy tech equipment, broken equipment is one of the challenges faced but that is not all. 'The biggest challenge is also time. We could do so much more if we had more time,' shares MacDonald.

How will this project define George Town in the end? ‘As a city it has so much to offer from its unique architecture to its diverse communities, this has shaped the city to be a fascinating place,’ says MacDonald. ‘We see the enthusiasm for George Town through the amount of art and photography that has appeared over the past few years, I guess we are hoping that our website can become a place that brings all this together.

Experience ‘mygeorgetown’ at George Town World Heritage Incorporated starting 1 – 28 August 2014. The exhibition’s opening hours are Monday to Friday at 8.30am – 5.00pm. For updates and further information log onto www.facebook.com/mygeorgetown.my and www.mygeorgetown.my.