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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

To touch history

An interactive exhibition has started in Lviv
18 June, 2014 - 17:16
Photo courtesy of Olena KRAVCHENKO

Researchers at the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, located at 6 Akademika Bohomoltsia Street in Lviv, have offered citizens and visitors to the city a new multimedia format of historical project as they have launched exhibition “The Digitized Past: The City, History and Digital Technologies,” presenting digitized postcards, photos, videos of different genres depicting life of cities and towns in Central Eastern Europe, old maps and unique historical archives. As Andrii Linik (coordinator of the exhibition) and Olena Kravchenko (responsible for media support of the event) told The Day, the project considered the role of new media and information technologies in thinking about and rethinking the past, so that “The Digitized Past” would prompt discussion of the benefits and challenges of the format of public history as empathy in the perception of the past, issues of digitization of historical materials and new ways of documenting events, like Instagram, live streams and more.

The organizers see the exhibition’s interactivity as its chief feature. Digital history projects of the Center for Urban History that make up the idea of the exhibition are presented on multimedia devices with touch screens; they allow one to become thoroughly familiar with the center’s work, and so, as they say, to touch history. Along with digital gadgets, the exhibition includes usual tools of historical research, such as a library card catalog or old city maps.

The exhibition was created at the intersection of “traditional” and “digital” history. It is an example of public history, which aims to increase the public interest in historical facts and events.

There are four research projects on display. In particular, the “City Maps” involves search, digitization, and publication of old Central and Eastern European city maps from archives, museums, and private collections. In general, there are 160 maps from 17 collections already digitized, close to a half of them are Lviv maps, the oldest of which dates back to 1635. Each visitor to the exhibition has an opportunity to compare the current map of Lviv and five ancient maps shown on a large multimedia board and evaluate metamorphoses of urban space and the names of locations.

The “Urban Images” is a project of search, digitization, and studying images (photographs, postcards, lithographs) reflecting the special moments and the everyday life of cities and towns in Central and Eastern Europe through different historical periods. The exhibition features a large-scale digitized old photo, composed of parts placed on the tape; visitors can independently vary the placement of elements and try to put together a coherent picture out of the puzzle elements.

The “City Video” involves archiving and studying urban media landscape based on cinematographic and audio-visual materials from public and private collections. The “Lviv Interactive” is a study of changes in urban space and social transformation of the city using a digital map, which features nearly 2,000 objects (buildings, streets, memories, pictures), united by various themes.

It remains to add that “The Digitized Past” can be of interest to people of all ages and preferences. With this in mind, the organizers of the exhibition provide everyone with an opportunity to see it and touch history, as it will run until the end of October. Admission is free.

By Tetiana KOZYRIEVA, The Day, Lviv
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