By Ginette Verstraete
The evening with Prof. Victoria Szabo in the Flemish Cultural Center De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam was a great success. More than a hundred people filled the beautifully lit and cosy lecture room, which was also used for the staging of a theater play later that evening. Among the audience were our Master Students in Arts and Culture, our academic faculty, and colleagues from other universities and heritage centers. Victoria Szabo talked about many of her digital humanities projects at the Wired! Lab at Duke University, where she works together with colleagues and students from various disciplines around topics such as the Augmented Reality Tours at the Durham campus, the digital reconstruction of the Eremitani Church in Padua, the NC Jukebox Exhibition based on the audio archive of historic North Carolina folk museum. Central in her lecture and amazing slides was the development of the Ghett/App to be used on-site in the Venetian Ghetto as a supplement to the physical exhibition on Venice and the Jews at Palazzo Ducale: the technological choices made, the archives used, the 3D models complementing new panorama images to suggest architectural changes in the ghetto over time, and so on. A couple of thoughts to be remembered from her inspiring talk: since the screen of our mobiles is small, select carefully; work evidence-based rather than purely imaginary; yet don’t try to be truthful only, leave room for user interpretation; keep all documents that didn’t make it in the final selection in a database—you may need them in the future; if you can’t make the project technologically sustainable, turn it into a performance! The audience was clearly intrigued and engaged, and after 30 minutes of challenging questions during the Q&A it was time to leave the room to the next performance.