Image of a VR interactive installation that probes the dynamics of materiality and memory of the two former camps

HERA iC-ACCESS – Exhibition in Westerbork

Posted: 6 August, 2017

Between October 13th and October 15th 2017, on the 75th commemoration of the transports that left from Westerbork to Bergen Belsen, the iC-ACCESS team (SPECS, UvA) together with Memorial Kamp Westerbork introduced in the memorial’s temporary display a VR interactive installation that probes the dynamics of materiality and memory of the two former camps.

Next to a 3D reconstruction of camp Westerbork, the VR installation allows the visitor to consult, in parallel, a 3D model already developed for the Bergen-Belsen memorial (developed by SPECS Barcelona in cooperation with GBB). This interactive mapping allowed Michael Gelber, an eyewitness of both camps during the Second World War, to recount his trajectory and story through the simulated spaces of 1944 and 1945 now available. As a witness and survivor of the transports, M. Gelber has also been supportive of this interactive reconstruction, particularly noticing its educational potential. Next to this virtual narrative, the initiative also pinpointed several broad aspects of memory contestations, dynamics and selectivity on the two campsites. Two other events evoked these histories on the site itself. HCKW hosted a public walking route showcasing several previously unknown areas of the campgrounds related to the guarding system of detainees.

A brochure introducing several broader concerns of “perpetrator heritage” was made available to the public. During the three days, visitors could also see initial archaeology investigations on site during the scanning (by infrared) of the so-called “Heidelager” area of the camp (the SS-Training camp), together with the scanning of the former Commander’s House (Staffordshire University and Scanlab, UCL), which will both be included in further reconstructions and research off-site in the project.

More: Westerbork, World War II

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