The inaugural e-exhibition of the ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA) website was unveiled today at the Webinar and Launch of “Forging History: Metals in the Crucible of ASEAN’s Transformation.”
Background and Objectives
The ASEAN region has a population of more than 650 million, with diverse ethnic groups, religions, races, and cultures. Under its motto of “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”, ASEAN pursues cultural projects to foster a sense of integration and promote greater unity. As part of this effort, the ASEAN Secretariat is integrating the cultural communications of the ASEAN region, which had previously been conducted on an individual country basis, and in 2018 began the ACHDA project to promote cultural exchange within the ASEAN region and ensure that cultural assets of high historical value are passed down to future generations, as well as provide an opportunity for people outside the ASEAN region to experience this heritage. NTT DATA, a global digital business and IT services leader has developed the historical cultural heritage digital archive system for this project.
About the ACHDA Website and the e-exhibition Feature
The ACHDA website made publicly available from February 27, 2020, for anyone in the world to view online at the ACHDA website. This system supports the images, audio recordings, and video data that are available on other NTT DATA digital archive systems, as well as an expanded capability to handle three-dimensional models of physical objects.
The e-exhibition is a new feature of the ACHDA website, developed during the project’s second phase that commenced in January 2021.
“Forging History” brings focus to the roles of metals in transforming the ASEAN region’s history and cultures. It features 22 digitised cultural heritage treasures selected by guest curator Girard Phillip E. Bonotan with support from museums and archival institutions of the ASEAN Member States. Highlights of the e-exhibition include Buddhist manuscript cabinets from Thailand, golden crowns from Indonesia, and modern metal artworks created by Malaysian artists, among others.
During the panel discussion titled “Reimagining Exhibitions During COVID-19”, experts from cultural institutions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan discussed their experiences in reinventing the museum experience in light of the ongoing pandemic.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected ASEAN’s cultural institutions, it provides impetus for museums to re-imagine their outreach to audiences through immersive digital cultural offerings,” said Deputy-Secretary General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Ekkaphab Phantavong at the opening of the webinar.
He added, “Forging History aspires to promote ASEAN’s rich and diverse cultural heritage to a wider audience through engaging storytelling, while also inspiring museums, galleries, and libraries to explore innovative ways to present their collections using digital technology.”
The ACHDA project is supported by the government of Japan through the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund (JAIF). Ambassador Akira Chiba of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, stated, “It is my honor and pleasure to see that advanced Japanese digitization technology by NTT DATA came into use, and that JAIF, the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund plays an indispensable role in launching this project.”
The ACHDA website was launched on February 27, 2020. It hosts a collection of 2D and 3D images, audio recordings, and video data. To date, 274 cultural assets from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand are available to the public. Katsufumi Fukunishi, Senior Vice President of NTT DATA, stated, “I am truly honored that NTT DATA’s information technologies can contribute to the preservation and sharing of ASEAN’s precious cultural heritage through the ACHDA Project. It is my sincere hope that through the new user experience of cultural heritage through the e-exhibition page developed this time, the value of ACHDA’s efforts will become more widely known, and that a new culture will be fostered to ensure that the valuable cultural assets of today are passed on to the future. NTT DATA will continue its efforts to contribute to the inheritance of valuable human heritage through this project.”
The ACHDA website has become a place where people can learn and understand about ASEAN’s culture, and the e-exhibition function supports to make it deeper and wider.
The ASEAN Secretariat and NTT DATA plans to further contribute to ASEAN by digitizing cultural heritage assets and building a sustainable digital archive system in all 10 ASEAN countries.
Forging History can be accessed through https://heritage.asean.org/e-exhibitions. More e-exhibitions will be added as the collection of digital heritage treasures on the ACHDA website expands.
About NTT DATA
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