3D exhibition of Hanoi draws criticisms before opening

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A 3D rendering of a photograph of the Khue Van Cac pavilion at Van Mieu (Temple of Literature), Hanoi.  

An upcoming exhibition of 3D photographs and films taken of Hanoi during the last two centuries has already drawn criticism for its misleading depiction of the capital.

At a press conference introducing the event on Thursday, organizers said that the "Hanoi looks through time" exhibition will include 100 renderings of everyday life and iconic sites in the capital from August 30 to September 4.

The So Hoa (digitize) Hanoi Group generated the films and photos from antique photographs collected during the past seven years.

The event, organized by the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in cooperation with the Hanoi Cultural Fund and So Hoa (digitize) Hanoi group, was meant to present Hanoi's most iconic sites to Vietnamese and foreign tourists in "an impressive way,"  Voice of Vietnam reported.

It was also organized to celebrate the 67th anniversary of Vietnam's Independence Day (September 2).

However, at the conference, several attendees echoed the online criticism, wondering why the design group had surrounded Hanoi's iconic sites with falling snow and colorful changing leaves.

Some said the photographs looked like Japanese or Russian tableaus. Others raised concerns that the exhibition would give tourists false expectations about the sites..

"These will only garner more admiration for foreign culture, which is especially dangerous to young people," one attendee said.

Prior to a press conference introducing the event, the So Hoa group posted a trailer previewing the works it would show at the forum of architecture and 3D presentation at www.3dviz.vn

The trailer soon sparked criticisms on the forum as well, Tuoi Tre reported Friday.

"Why snow? Those trees and branches are not from Hanoi," a member said.

"Is this really Hanoi? Watching the trailer, I feel lost and no longer recognized my beloved Hanoi," another member commented. 

In response to the criticisms, Vu Viet Hoai, a member of the So Hoa Hanoi and the author of several upcoming works, said they generated the 3D renditions of the photos with help from Hanoi experts.

They also insisted that the 3D renderings would be accompanied by the actual photographs, he added.

Asked about snow in the photos and films, Hoai said they hope viewers would pay more attention to climate change

"Who knows?" he said. "If we don't protect the environment, some day, snow will really fall in Hanoi."

According to Hoai, the group expected mixed reactions from the public, but they planned to proceed with the show as planned in the hopes that they would win over the general public.

Meanwhile, a representative from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the exhibition was intended to be a pilot to garner public response.

If the exhibition proves a success, he said, local governments may organize similar shows in the future.

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