The immersive performance titled “ReInHerit in Performance: The Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion” was one of the case studies organised within the framework of ReInHerit H2020. The immersive performance in focus hopes to provide a template for collaborations for developing similar projects that are shaped by cultural heritage sites and in turn help to attract wider audiences to them. It was planned, developed and realised in parallel to the setup of the ReInHerit Digital Hub. A diverse group of professionals, namely artists, archaeologists and computer scientists, joined forces to create this project, resulting in an interdisciplinary performance, consisting of a combination of live music, sound art, video art, lighting design, programming, 3D printing and temporary exhibition curation, that invited its audience to take initiative in shaping their experience of it. The performance was hosted at the Ethnological Museum of Cyprus on 29 October 2022. The venue is mostly known as the mansion of the Dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios, a high-ranking official in Ottoman Cyprus and the palace of the House of Podocataro, dating back to the 15th century. The venue was chosen because of its significance as a unique monument of cultural heritage that combines several layers of Nicosia’s rich history within its walls. It is also a space that attracts only a small number of daily visitors, coming mostly from school field trips and privately guided tours. For this project, the team of ITICA from CYENS CoE created an immersive performance within a cultural heritage site, consisting of a temporary large-scale sound installation, combining fixed media and live electronics (pre-recorded and interactive music) with a group of nine musicians. The audience and performers navigated the performance space and triggered sonic events where they entered to explore, depending on locations of sound installation receivers. Thus, each audience member received an individualised experience of the cultural heritage space, shaped by their personal choices on where to go, what to focus on, who or what to interact with and for how long, within the space, during the performance. The project’s objective was to create a performance that would offer visitors an alternative mode of experiencing exhibits and spaces within this cultural heritage site, inviting them to interact and engage with the spaces or exhibits in a holistic way i.e. a specially designed multi-media experience, which is site-specific, exhibit-specific, time-limited, unique and deeply personal for each visitor that comes to the space during the performance. It is a case study in developing a performance that is informed by a cultural heritage site, that grows within, respects, and helps enhance pre-existing exhibitions and museum spaces.
Image caption (first 4 photos): Musicians and audience interacting with the sound installation in various spots of the mansion. Dramatic lighting was used to enhance the visitors’ experience during the evening performance slots.