Focus on the advancement of our cultural heritage on the last day of MIFA

One of the possibilities offered today by VR and the various immersive techniques is the preservation and enhancement of our cultural heritage. Throughout MIFA, we saw projects designed to promote our artistic, historical or cultural heritage: Les petits secrets des grands tableaux, Exposition Sites Éternels, Les Aventuriers de l'art moderne, etc.
For young and old alike, VR and new narrative formats are ways of approaching history from a different viewpoint, and of learning more about it in an interactive manner. The new technologies, in fact, can reveal aspects of this heritage that have until now been concealed.
Presented on the last day of MIFA, the project Small Wonders is a perfect example of this achievement. Lisa Ellis, a conservator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Priam Givor, a technical director and digital artist at Seneca College, presented the project on Saturday April 1, at Hotel 10.
First of all, Ellis explained how new technologies have managed to reveal the miniscule and excessively detailed engravings on small prayer beads from the 15th century. Although these objects are of great artistic and historical significance, until recently it has been impossible for the public to admire them, given their size and fragility. Neither microscopes nor medical scans, which are sometimes used to reveal details of artworks and artefacts, have been able to show us the finesse and complexity of these works. For Ellis, the new possibilities offered by technology are priceless and boundless.
Owing to these extremely precise and high-performance digital techniques, it is now possible to create high-resolution 3D models of these objects. For conservators of ancient art, needless to say, this is an exciting and dramatic development. After wondering how these models could best be put to use, how audiences could benefit from them, Ellis developed an immersive experience. And VR proved to be the perfect vehicle.
In collaboration with Priam Givor, a VR experience was designed based on these 3D models. VR technology not only provides unprecedented visual access to these figures on the prayer beads, but also ways to deconstruct them, to approach and infiltrate them. As in a museum experience, the device developed by Givor allows visitors to closely scrutinize these works, to choose the aspects that interest them. In this way, they are able to discover and enjoy their full richness, in the tranquility and temporal suspension of VR, for a truly spiritual experience. VR is thus offering us an entirely new perspective on these works, which have much to tell us about the history of mankind.
During the entire Market, the public had access to Small Wonders at SAT. For all those who experienced the work, the verdict was unanimous: breathtaking! The fascinating presentation made by Lisa Ellis and Priam Givor on Saturday morning reflected their passion and devotion, along with the high calibre of this VR project.
What a beautiful way to begin the last day of MIFA!