Monday, 31 January 2011

Tiananmen Square Augmented Reality

Smartphone App Revives
Statue of Democracy + Tank Man at Tiananman Square

Click to view larger image

F1. Statue of Democracy on Tiananman Square 1989, and the virtual version

F2.  Using iPhone or Android phone, one can view a virtual Statue of Democracy superimposed within the physical environment. 

F3. Tank Man on East Chang'an Street in Tiananman Protest 1989, and the 3D version

F4. Viewing Tank Man with an iphone or Android phone with Layar application installed, on Chang'an Street, Beijing. 

F5. Locating  Statue of Democracy + Tank Man at Tiananman Square on Google Map

Although it has been more than twenty years since Tiananman Protest took place in 1989, the authority persistently uses all means erasing the facts that Chinese people pursued democracy in this democratic and anti-corruption movement. In China, nowadays, young people are not aware the courageous actions, such as 'Tank Man' and erecting 'Statue of Democracy' facing Mao's portrait on Tiananman Tower, emerged during student movement of 1989. Nonetheless, history should not be forgotten. 

Information and communication technologies have inspired people to express their thoughts freely. We as artists, taking advantages of the development  of mobile phone technology and smartphone applications, have revived the history of 1989 Tiananman Protest that  has tremendous implications waiting  for further examinations by our contemporaries.   

Deploying Augmented Reality application, Layar (free download at for Android and iPhone, we have created virtual 'Statue of Democracy' and 'Tank Man,' and installed those monumental icons on the physical sites where the real incidents took place. Any visitor, domestic or from abroad,  can find those virtual monuments on Tiananmen Square and nearby East Chang'an Street with an iPhone or Android mobile device, as well as taking picture with them. 

The images above indicate the real incidents, making process of Statue of Democracy & Tank Man (F1 & F3), the Augmented Reality on mobile devices (F2 & F4), and the exact locations of the AR work on Google map (F5). 

Audience Experience:
Once the audience downloads the Layar Augmented Reality Browser to their Android or iPhone, he or she could stand in Tiananmen Square and point their device's camera towards the northern side of the plaza where the Goddess of Democracy was originally erected. The application uses geolocation software to superimpose a computer generated 3D graphic of the Goddess of Democracy at the precise GPS coordinates of the original, enabling them to see the augmentation integrated into the physical location as if it existed in the real world. Similarly, the Tank Man augmentation would be placed on Chang'an Avenue northeast of Tiananmen Square in the exact location of the original event. Both augmentations will appear in the original scale and orientation.

Technical Requirements:
1. Hardware: iPhone or Android Phone
2. Software: Layar, free download at


  1. Hi,

    I am a PhD student working on a dissertation on memorials. It includes a discussion on the Goddess of Democracy. I find your application to be very interesting, and wish to address it in terms of how it affects collective memory. I wish to quote your description of the "audience experience" in my dissertation. Please let me know who should I give credit to for this description, as well as the maker of the app. Could you please reply to or

    Of course if there is more to learn about this application, I'd be very interested to know. Thank you!

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  7. This is brilliant. I've also been exploring Tiananmen Square in 3D work for VR! So cool to see someone else is interested in the same subject using similar mediums. Very cool. Thank you!

  8. Yo dude this is dope, and I know that it's an old post and you're probably not gonna see this, but do you have the base 3d model for The Goddess of Democracy? I want to 3d print it.

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