A Collision of Art and Technology: Crossover Guardianship of the Culture of Intangible Heritage by Baidu Charity and the Leading Actor of “Story of Yanxi Palace”

As one of the birthplaces of ancient civilizations, China is currently a country with the largest number of world-class intangible cultural heritage in the world. With the advance of history, many ancient arts and cultures have been gradually forgotten and ignored by young people and are disappearing over time. As to how to preserve cultural heritage, technology can yet be regarded as an effective choice. Supported by Baidu, Baidu Charity is committed to spreading the concept of public welfare, creating a public service media platform with information technology, bridging the information gap, promoting knowledge sharing and building a harmonious society.

At the same time, based on a large user base, a great community dedicated to public welfare is shaped, making public benefit activities more accessible to everyone. This time, driven by public welfare programs, Baidu Charity has been promoting the cultural industry innovation and the inheritance and dissemination of traditional craftsmanship, as the first attempt to open up product videos of small stories. Also, it uses AR technology to bring to people the immersive, multimedia and interactive browsing experience in the culture of intangible heritage, enabling traditional culture and culture of intangible heritage to be part of people’s lives and attract new attention.

On Aug. 20, Baidu Charity teamed up with Nie Yuan, leading actor of the epic hit drama “Story of Yanxi Palace”, to jointly launch a crossover charitable live video streaming with the theme of “Guarding the Intangible Heritage”, awakening young viewers’ understanding of and attention to Chinese traditional culture and intangible heritage by means of art and technology. “Story of Yanxi Palace” displayed the connotation of a large number of Chinese traditional culture and culture of intangible heritage, and conveyed the color aesthetics of ancient Chinese Confucianism through the elegant and generous color style. Baidu Charity used AR technology to empower the traditional culture, enabling people to understand the culture of intangible heritage in lively and interesting interactions and across geographical and time limitations without setting foot outside their doors, awakening more young people’s awareness of the technology of intangible heritage, and encouraging people to pay attention to ancient civilizations and inheritors, so that traditional crafts will no longer be lost, and public welfare will be warmer.

Intangible heritage refers to various expressions of traditional culture that are handed down from generation to generation and regarded as part of cultural heritage, as well as objects and sites related to the expressions of traditional culture. During the live broadcast, Nie Yuan told the audience a story about an embroidery artisan who inherited the seemingly boring embroidery craftsmanship from the family. As a young girl who was supposed to be lively and active, she was able to embroider each piece of clothing without distractions, in the best way to protect the intangible heritage through the tireless efforts of herself and the generations of the family. Nie Yuan said that when the actors and actresses put on the costumes hand-embroidered by her, they could truly appreciate the amazing texture brought by the traditional craftsmanship, which was unmatched by the machine-made clothes. Over time, many ancient civilizations carrying thousands of years of vicissitudes have been buried in the long river of history in the process of spreading. The craftsmen, after sorting out, have inherited and developed the excellent traditional culture, and generations of inheritors have silently held fast to these treasures in Chinese history, eager for these cultures to be widely spread so that more contemporary young people can understand the immortal charm of traditional culture. Baidu Charity hoped to contribute to the spread of traditional culture and the culture of intangible heritage through Internet technologies and products, and attempted to use its resource and technological advantages to empower traditional crafts. So far, it has completed restoration with AR technology, image data recording, and other preservation work for 21 national cultural programs in nine provinces in China.

At the beginning of this year, Baidu Charity took the lead to join hands with China Soong Ching Ling Foundation to launch the “Baidu Cultural Heritage Guardian Program”, aiming to realize the accumulation, inheritance, and innovation of traditional culture through the establishment of a public welfare platform for cultural heritage. Baidu Charity uses AI technology to empower cultural relics preservation units, intangible heritage and inheritors thereof, and widely spreads traditional culture through Baidu content ecology, alliance partners and other channels, enabling cultural heritage to be understood by the public in a vivid way through modern technology, and prompting more people to join the ranks of guardians. This is not only the preservation and dissemination of traditional culture but also the inheritance and development of the artisan spirit so that the cultural self-confidence of the new era can go deep into people’s lives.

In cooperation with hit shows and stars, Baidu Charity has achieved the synergy between film and TV works and intangible heritage. Through the form of art or technology, it has solved the problem that young people no longer pay attention to intangible heritage. In the process of chasing the stars and hit shows, young audiences are able to understand and pay attention to traditional culture and the culture of intangible heritage. At the same time, the dissemination and development of the artisan spirit has also encouraged more people to consciously become guardians of cultural heritage so that the cultural heritage can be preserved and inherited more effectively.

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