Multimedia exposition

BELARUS SHTETL

BELARUS SHTETL
Multimedia project aimed at actualization and raising awareness of the architectural and cultural Jewish heritage of Belarus and at rethinking the history of Belarusian Jews with the help of new technologies and modern means of communication. The exposition becomes one of the significant components in creating a possible foundation for the Jewish Museum in Belarus.
[ about the project ]
Shtetl (a word in Yiddish, which used to be one of the 4 national languages in Belarus) means a small town with a predominantly Jewish population that existed in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. It is an important part of Jewish history and a real cultural phenomenon.
The VR-reconstruction of the Slonim Great Synagogue became the pilot of Belarus Shtetl. It is planned to work on VR-reconstructions of several more objects in Belarus, each of which embodies different periods, territories and architectural styles, as well as on developing multimedia solutions to recreate the shtetl environment.

VR-TOUR AND RECONSTRUCTION
OF SLONIM SYNAGOGUE

[ pilot project ]
The VR-tour and reconstruction of the Slonim Synagogue became the pilot of Belarus Shtetl project and brought together the efforts of researchers, historians, restorers, artists, 3D designers, IT engineers, combined information from archives with high-tech modeling to recreate and preserve one of the oldest existing synagogues in Belarus.
The Slonim Great Synagogue was built in 1642 and was one of the region's greatest synagogues, a monument to the thriving Jewish community in the area, and representative of rich, local cultural and aesthetic traditions. The building in a baroque style, with its dramatic gabled roof and an imposing exterior, features an impressive group of paintings and carvings.

In recent years the Slonim synagogue has undergone substantial degradation, largely as a result of the decimation of the local population during World War II and subsequent disuse of the synagogue. The building was used as a warehouse and was subject to vandalism in which caused serious structural problems.













Large-scale virtual reconstruction work can be used for the physical restoration of the Slonim Synagogue.
The result of almost a year's work of the team is a 15-minute virtual tour of the Slonim Synagogue during its heyday (17-19th centuries). Using a VR headset, you can plunge into the past. The tour includes a brief overview of Jewish history and culture, the history of the synagogue and a "visit" to the building in its original form: with recreated unique wall paintings, architectural elements and archival audio recordings. At the end of the session, you can compare the version of the synagogue after the virtual restoration with its current, neglected, state.
«The reconstruction of the Slonim synagogue in a virtual environment is a unique experience of immersion in the cultural context, in which historical heritage and new technologies are combined into a single solution. Today, when virtual reality focuses more and more on the creation of fictional worlds and game heroes, the idea of the project organizers to recreate an authentic historical building has become a real discovery not only for the development team, but also for all the employees of the company».
Exposit IT-company

VR-EXPOSITION IN MINSK

[ exhibition ]
The VR-exposition of the Great Slonim Synagogue and the presentation of the Belarus Shtetl project in Minsk took place from April 1 to April 14 in cultural center CORPUS.
Poster design: Oleg Kutchinsky
Exhibition design: cultural center CORPUS
Sound production: Radio Plato
PR-campaign: IPR Belarus

Photo: Alexander Vasiukovich
VIDEO
[ to watch ]
Project curator: Grigory Kheifets
Reconstruction of the synagogue interior: Bastalia creative workshop
IT-developer: Exposit company
Sound production: Radio Plato
ORGANIZERS AND PARTNERS
Belarusian-Jewish Cultural Heritage Center

Goethe-Institute in Belarus
Supported by German Federal Foreign Office as part of the Eastern Partnership program