Odeon VR

Archive project and VR environment for Oculus Rift
Made with Università degli Studi di Udine and Virtew s.r.l.s
2020-ongoing

The project “Odeon VR”, developed by Eleonora Roaro under the supervision of Andrea Mariani (Digital Storytelling Lab, Università degli Studi di Udine) and Virtew s.r.l.s, focuses on the Virtual Reality reconstruction and reactivation of the Odeon cinema (1936-2002) in Udine and on how the research has been conducted in national and local archives (both public and private), newspapers (“Il Popolo del Friuli” and “Il Messaggero Veneto”), and through oral sources. The aim of the project is the development of Virtual Reality storytelling that combines local history, cinema history and cinema-going habits between 1936 and 1955. It highlights the new historiographical possibilities of the connection between archival work and immersive digital technologies, which allow us to integrate different and heterogeneous sources and to develop a historicized experience. Moreover, it is a case of digital heritage valorization (Cameron and Kenderdine 2007) conceived as a political concept and practice made through Virtual Reality: indeed the Odeon cinema was declared of historical and artistic interest in 2004 by the Soprintendenza Belle Arti, Archeologica e Paesaggio del Friuli Venezia Giulia because of Ettore Gilberti’s architectonic prestige and Ugo Rossi and Antonio Franzolini’s interior decorations. The building still exists nowadays, although in deteriorating conditions: it has been unsuccessfully put up for auction and, consequently, no restoration has occurred. The project aims to bring awareness of this cinema theatre’s uniqueness to the local community and its importance for the citizens as a place of social gathering.