Official Swiss delegation experiences new frontiers in art tech at HKBU

HONG KONG, July 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A senior Swiss delegation led by Mr Guy Parmelin, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, visited Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) on 5 July. The delegation was able to partake in the premiere of the terapixel scale digital version of the Swiss national treasure painting, The Panorama of the Battle of Murten (1893), which was displayed on the 360-degree panoramic stereoscopic LED screen at HKBU’s Visualization Research Centre.

Dr Clement Chen, Chairman of the Council and the Court (2nd left), and Professor Alex Wai, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU (2nd right), receive souvenirs from the Swiss delegation led by Mr Guy Parmelin, Swiss Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (centre).

The delegation was welcomed by HKBU representatives including Dr Clement Chen, Chairman of the Council and the Court; Mr Paul Poon, Deputy Chairman of the Council and the Court; Mr Kevin Liem, Treasurer of the Council and the Court; Professor Alex Wai, President and Vice-Chancellor; and other senior management team members.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Clement Chen said the delegation’s presence serves as a symbol of the strong ties between Hong Kong and Switzerland, and their shared dedication to excellence and innovation.

“HKBU is honoured to be chosen as one of the very few destinations during their tour in Hong Kong. This visit presents an opportunity for us to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation, technology transfer and enriching cultural exchanges. We are excited to showcase these achievements through a selection of exhibits, allowing the delegation to witness firsthand the cutting-edge developments and innovative solutions that our institution has been spearheading,” said Dr Chen.

Mr Guy Parmelin pointed out that Hong Kong and Switzerland share many similarities. Given their commonalities, further mutual collaboration in the realms of education, research and innovation would be highly beneficial to both parties.

“HKBU has a very successful collaboration with one of Switzerland’s leading research institutions, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). I am particularly curious to explore the Visualization Research Centre, a place where our researchers are already working side-by-side at the intersection of computer science and culture,” said Mr Guy.

Both parties shared their recent developments in education and culture in Switzerland and Hong Kong. Professor Terence Lau, Interim Chief Innovation Officer of HKBU, gave an overview on the latest development in teaching, research, knowledge transfer and translation at the University. He also introduced HKBU’s recent innovations in healthcare, AI and culture.

Several HKBU art tech projects were presented to the delegation at the Visualization Research Centre. Professor Jeffrey Shaw, Director of the Centre, and Professor Sarah Kenderdine, Professor of Digital Museology of EPFL and Visiting Professor of the Department of Computer Science at HKBU, unveiled the digital version of the painting The Panorama of the Battle of Murten, which depicts a Swiss victory over the army of the Duke of Burgundy, a fierce battle that took place in 1476 and altered its national history.

The physical painted canvas measures approximately 10 x 100 metres. At 1.6 terapixels, the digital image undertaken at EPFL is the largest image ever created of an artwork. It was also the first time that the Swiss Government representatives were able to view this national treasure in a digital format.

Other collaborative projects between HKBU and EPFL on the Future Cinema Systems were also demonstrated, enabling the audience to immerse in the extraordinary experience of the pan-Asian Buddhist sites along the Maritime Silk Road, the centrepiece of several large-scale exhibitions and permanent museums.