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2019

Place

VIRTUAL REALITY PROJECT

Creators: Avi Dabach, Harmke Hazeen, Mike Robbins, Judith Manassen-Ramon

Supported by: The Rabinowich fund, Canada media Fund, The Jerusalem Film & Television Fund.

Place is a journey through time to a space that no longer exists. By bringing back to life voices and sights, architecture and memories in VR, a unique piece of the ancient culture of Aleppo is preserved and its harsh present confronted.

Place is an immersive three-dimensional reconstruction of the Great Synagogue of Aleppo in 1947. It’s like stepping inside an old, cherished piece of film, with all the grain and softness that human memories are made of. You are transported to a time when Aleppo was a buzzing intersection point between religions, cultures, commerce and history. The synagogue was initially built twelve hundred years ago,
looted and burned in the riots of 1947, and completely destroyed during the Syrian war in 2015-16.

The creators of Place reconstruct the building from rare archival photographs, many of them not digitised until now, and a historically accurate scale model.

Place is full of figures and voices that fade in and out of visual and auditory range as you approach or move away. Collectively these stories begin to tell the history of the building, and the community it served, and the city in which it resided. Some of the narrators are still alive, others passed decades ago. Some tell us about what the past means to them, while a few tell us about the present. The visual representation of the people you meet are, like the surroundings in which they dwell, a combination of photography, 3d imaging, and imagination. The viewer can walk around these volumetric figures.

Place is designed as a room scale VR experience (HTV Vive, Oculus Rift), allowing for 6 degrees of movement and a spatialized soundscape.