Museums have moved on from talking at audiences in unidirectional narratives to providing immersive and interactive experiences in which visitors are encouraged to perceive themselves as participants. Their involvement is not only reflected in the audience’s contribution to the narrative that is being told but also in the moral imperative to see themselves as implicated subjects in the matter at hand.
This talk aims to explore the role of new technology, such as VR/MR, in this context, focusing on the remediation of testimonies from video to interactive 3-D format, aimed at international audiences. The Shoa Foundation’s (New) Dimensions of Testimony have been exhibited in both English- and non-English speaking countries around the world, similar projects have been conducted in the US, UK and Germany and the plan is to extend the project to survivors of other genocides and atrocities, with one survivor of the Nanjing Massacre in China having already been recorded.
This keynote will explore how the format of the testimony as it has been developed through film and video translates from analogue to digital, from in-person to virtual, but also from one cultural context to another as virtual testimonies become a common feature in museums around the world.
Silke Arnold-de Simine is Reader in Memory, Media and Cultural Studies in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research is located at the interface of museum, memory and digital media studies with a special interest in the remembrance and commemoration of difficult, dissonant pasts and their ethical, political, psychological and aesthetic implications. Her research focuses on the question of how personal and cultural memory intersect most importantly but not exclusively in museums and heritage sites that favor immersive and experiential strategies and aim to produce empathy in visitors. Her many publications trace the pathways and the transcultural flow of practices of remembrance across different art forms, media outlets and institutions, with a special interest in immersive and interactive digital media technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. She is the author of Mediating Memory in the Museum: Trauma, Empathy, Nostalgia (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan 2013, paperback 2016) and co-editor of Picturing the Family. Media, Narrative, Memory (London: Bloomsbury 2018) and Adapting the Canon. Mediation, Visualization, Interpretation (Oxford: Legenda 2020).