The Cambridge Dictionary definition of freedom is ‘The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants,’ also the ‘state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.’ This Season Welsh National Opera explores what freedom is; what it means to others and, most importantly, what it means to you. You can engage in our immersive digital exhibitions and witness the experiences of captivity and liberation that people face every day.
You may ask the question, is a digital exhibition really necessary when we are already so constantly surrounded by technology?
Popularity aside, digital exhibitions bring us closer to the work or in some instances into entirely different worlds which we would not otherwise be able to discover. The FREEDOM digital exhibition ranges from Nazi Germany (The Last Goodbye, The Girls of Room 28) to modern day Syria (Fluorscence) and the USA (Terminal 3) and even venturing into the future (Future Aleppo.)
Digital exhibitions can quite literally put you in the shoes of someone else. The ‘someone else’ in this case being Mohammed Kteish (Future Aleppo), you can, through the help of a VR (virtual reality), headset and hand-held controller, help him rebuild his beloved city of Aleppo. Sharing his story with others doesn’t stop there though; he will also be working with local school children to present their views of Cardiff in the future. The children will have the opportunity to speak to Mohammed via video link and then see their ideas brought to life in virtual reality.
Lastly, not only does technology enable us to share these experiences but it makes art and culture more accessible for everyone. Not everyone has the means to visit Poland in person; however The Last Goodbye, created by Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz, the award-winning virtual-reality film with Pinchas Gutter can take you there. His tour around Majdanek Concentration Camp, where he was taken when he was just 11 years old, can immerse and educate you in the horrors of the last century.
Similarly, The Girls of Room 28 takes you back through time to the Holocaust, surrounding you with letters, essays, drawings and diaries of children from Theresienstadt to transport you to another tragic reality. Through digitalising these artefacts we allow the story to continue long after the original document has expired. Although, we are not looking to replace the traditional museum, indeed, many of the originals of The Girls of Room 28 drawings are in hung in art galleries around the world, we are merely making them available to the masses and keeping them safe for future generations.
The more we share in others narratives and see things from alternate points of view, the more we can understand the world around us. As Gabo Arora’s comment on virtual reality sums up aptly; ‘Many are often moved to feel a connection they didn’t expect, with someone they thought were different from them. The shared humanity is what moves people the most.’ It is only through gaining knowledge through our past that we can move on to a better future.