The Nordic World Heritage VR-Network met at Kongernes Jelling
- Jelling 2021
The Danish team was the first host when the newly built Nordic World Heritage VR-Network met in Denmark. Network members from five World Heritage sites gathered at Kongernes Jelling and the fabulous visiting center for two full days; Kvarken Archipelago in Finland, Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland, Röros mining town and the Circumference in Norway and Thingvellir in Iceland. And of course the hosting representatives from Kongernes Jelling.
Just before the summer of 2021 the Nordic World Heritage VR-network got founded for Longterm Network by Nordic Culture Point. The network will serve to facilitate the exchange of ideas/know how in using VR to communicate the World Heritage content. The objectives of the network will be mapping and finding ways to distribute and share each other's experiences, as well as enhancing skills in storytelling with XR.
The Jelling program started with all of the teams introducing and exploring their sites and expectations. We called it “Hopes and Dreams”. Though the Network had already met digitally in Teams several times, it was delightful to actually meet in person. It provided a deeper understanding for each site’s different challenges, and the ones of Jelling in particular.
The first workshop was hosted by Khora. First with an introduction where all of the network members could try different VR-experiences followed by an interesting lecture of the possibilities with virtual, augmented or mixed reality storytelling.
Khora is a leading Scandinavian Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) production studio, creating cutting edge content within multiple application areas. Khora is a concept derived from Plato, and is defined as a place between the real and non-real that wavers between the sensible and the intelligible. With this in mind, Khora was created to become a bridge between the physical and virtual worlds. It is here that we try to create space for people to develop and let loose their wildest imaginations. www.khora.dk
The aim of the VR-network is to cooperate, exchange and develop ideas and through the network be able to share VR-experiences of different World heritage Sites; first the Nordic and after that - go global. We will accomplish this by sharing resources and competencies. To visit each site in the project is central. So, a guided tour around the World Heritage site of Kongernes Jelling was mandatory and superbly delivered by Kongernes Jelling curator Adam Bak. After the tour – and a visit in the Berserker Box at the Testcenter – the groups developed new ideas for each site; how XR can be used, can the time be the story that’s engaged visitors etc etc.
The second day started with a presentation by Josephine Rydberg, cross media developer from Culture Gävleborg and the Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland, who presented some of the conclusions from her research on live multiplayer gaming in VR.
This was followed by an on line presentation from Art+Com /The Alexandra Institute (TBD) www.alexandra.dk, company that has been central in the digital presentation of Kongernes Jelling
At the ART+COM Studios in Cologne and Berlin, use new media to design and develop installations, objects and spaces in both analogue and digital format. They create environments that allow people to enjoy experiences that would otherwise be unimaginable in everyday life. ART+COM use new technology as a means of artistic expression, as a medium for interactive communication and for sensory experiences. They augment the visitors’ capabilities and show them new ways to interact with the world. Originally founded in 1988 as the registered association ART+COM e. V., today ART+COM works for international clients from industry, culture and research. At the ART+COM Studios, colleagues from the areas of media design, media art, IT development, programming, communication and product design, science, engineering and project management work hand in hand. Projects are developed in interdisciplinary teams working from different perspectives. www.artcom.de/en
At the end of two very interesting days the teams sat down in split groups to try and give feedback to the overall experience of the World heritage center of Kongernes Jelling. Each group was asked to highlight five possibilities in which to, by VR, enhance the site and the story surrounding it.
The meeting in Jelling really set the standard, and the general feeling is that the Nordic World Heritage VR-Network will have three very interesting years to look forward to.
The idea of World Heritages is originally a cultural and peace project. Today, World Heritage sites play a key role in relations with the rest of the world, fully in line with UNESCO's intentions. The meaning and joy of learning and experiencing World Heritage could still be more interesting and more accessible. Virtual reality (VR) is one way of telling the great cultural stories and at the same time reaching out to new people to benefit and understand their cultural heritage.
Communication, creativity and education has for long been at the core of the work undertaken by World Heritage sites. The World Heritage VR-Network will explore new ways of bringing World Heritage into the future virtual world, with the strong aim of relevance, accessibility and sustainability.
We thank all the crew and members from Jelling for two fantastic days and looking forward to meet in Kvarken Archipelago this spring.