Events
September
2019

Broken Cities. A virtual journey from Syria to Iraq

Mossul - source: Iconem
Mossul - source: Iconem
Great Mosque of Aleppo - source: Iconem
Great Mosque of Aleppo - source: Iconem
Ancient City of Aleppo - source: Iconem
Ancient City of Aleppo - source: Iconem
Palmira - source: Iconem
Palmira - source: Iconem
Mossul - source: Iconem
Mossul - source: Iconem

Institutional Communication Service

USI will present an exhibition open to the public dedicated to the four cities that were ran into the ground by conflicts: Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra and Mosul. The exhibition will be held alongside the MEM Summer Summit on 24 and 25 August at Palazzo congressi. Visitors will be able to experience the exhibition on three different levels: through photos, through videos thanks to a short documentary by RSI journalist Roberto Antonini, and through an immersive simulation designed by e−REAL for a hands on experience thanks to virtual reality. Entrance is free upon registration at https://www.mem-summersummit.ch/.

The exhibition will also feature images by Iconem, a company that deals with the virtual reconstruction of heritage at risk. Yves Ubelmann, president and co-founder of Iconem, explains how his involvement began: “Eight years ago I was working as an architect in Afghanistan where I witnessed the quick destruction of cultural sites. We began mapping and making digital copies of the sites by using drones and 3D photography techniques: all data collected were useful to transfer and preserve memory, in view of a reconstruction. Soon after, conflicts broke out in Syria and Iraq. Faced with urgency, action was taken immediately, but unfortunately we reached Palmira too late”. Yves Ubelmann witnessed first-hand how the destruction of cultural heritage is linked to the destruction of the population. The destruction of UNESCO Heritage Sites has stirred a sentiment of indignation all over the world: in Palmira, the self-proclaimed Islamic State deliberately wanted to erase art and history, exploiting the resonance given by the media with an effect of spectacularisation. The damage has affected the archaeological site, the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the Arc de Triomphe, and the columns in the Valley of the Tombs. “In Palmira we were at least able to put our technology at the service of contemporary history, documenting its destruction and at the same time allowing us to imagine its reconstruction.”

The exhibition will be held in the context of the second Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit, which will bring to Lugano, from the 15 to the 25 of August 2019, about a hundred young participants hailing from 25 countries of the Middle East Mediterranean region and Europe, and authorities from the cultural, political, and economic world, to discuss and devise solutions for dialogue and development in the region.

 

Practical information

  • Opening hours: Saturday 24 8am-6pm, Sunday 25 8am-3pm
  • Free access, registration mandatory (either online or on-site)
  • Minimum age requirement for the immersive room: 10 years

 

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