A story, in augmented reality, about the Museum of the Ara Pacis.
A multi-medial tale in which history and technology come together to create a fully immersive and multi-sensorial experience of the Ara Pacis. People, gestures, divinities and animals are turned into 3D animations that, with the addition of colour, tell the story of the origins of Rome and the Emperor Augustus’ family. Since 20 January, the story of the Ara Pacis has become even more enveloping thanks to the integration of computer graphics and both virtual and augmented reality.
Following the huge success of the first three months of a programme that has attracted some 11 thousand visitors, the ARA COM’ERA, (The Ara as it was), the first systematic presentation of the use of augmented and virtual reality to enhance the value of one of the most important masterpieces of Roman art, is now even more inviting and engaging.
Locals and tourists can now enjoy the opportunity to experience innovative story telling about the Ara Pacis and the origins of Rome further enhanced by two new interesting features in Virtual Reality which, by combining live film, 3D reconstructions and computer graphics, make it possible to fully emerge oneself in the northern part of the ancient Campo Marzio and take in the first reconstruction, in virtual reality, of a Roman sacrifice. This intensified version has an even deeper emotional impact than before as visitors are catapulted into the past and relive it from a truly privileged position. The 360° viewpoint provides the perfect atmosphere in which to admire the revelation o the Ara Pacis in all its original colours: a “magic” that has been made possible thanks to experimental work commissioned by the Capitoline Supervisory Body for the Cultural Heritage Department over the course of a decade, which led to this hypothetical reconstruction that is as close to reality as is likely.
The colours are not the only surprise to greet visitors who can also “float” in the air above the altar, glide over the Campo Marzio and watch the sacrifice, carried out by various actors, whilst remaining at the heart of the action.
The entire set up has also expanded in terms of the number of people it can accommodate. Every evening, in fact, up to 400 visitors, split into small groups are now welcomed inside rather than the 300 from before.
L’ARA COM’ERA is scheduled every Friday and Saturday from 7.30 p.m. to midnight (last admission at 11 p.m.), with each programme lasting 45 minutes and is available in 5 languages: (Italian, English, French, Spanish and German).
The project is promoted by Roma Capitale and the Department for Cultural Development through the Capitoline Supervisory Body for the Cultural Heritage Department, with the latter also responsible for co-ordination, scientific content, dialogues and performance, whilst its organization is the responsibility of Zètema Progetto Cultura, it is overseen by ETT SpA and the voices of the characters featured are provided by Luca Ward and Manuela Mandracchia.
L’ARA COM’ERA is the result of a combination of technologies and the creation of virtual worlds into which characters, both real and those reconstructed using computer graphics (CG), have been placed. Traditional green screen filming using real actors is introduced into a 360° set by means of innovative software.
L’ARA COM’ERA offers a unique and innovative Augmented and Virtual Reality experience like no other of its kind thanks to the use of particular AR visors (Samsung GearVR) and the cameras inserted into the devices mean that the virtual and real elements of the show come together in the spectator’s field of vision. The particular AR application adopted picks up the detail of the bas reliefs and sculptures in 3D, tracking them in real time. The virtual elements appear to visitors as if they are “anchored” to real objects which adds to the overall effect, the sense of being a part of the scenario and the magic of the whole experience.
THE VISITOR’S TRAIL
There are 9 points of interest (POI) along the trail of which POI 1 and POI 2 comprise a combination of film, virtual reality and immersive technologies that together create a new whole. Wearing Samsung Gear VR visors, spectators are greeted with a 360° filmed view of the Ara Pacis as it is today only to then find themselves in a white space in which the monument appears in its original colours and in the presence of the Emperor Augustus, the very particular guide to the journey of discovery around the Campo Marzio.
Having listened to explanations of the various monuments, visitors can then admire the Campo Marzio itself thanks to a 3D reconstruction seen from above, before finding themselves in the middle of the area that embraces the Pantheon, the Saepta Julia (the voting precinct), Augustus’ Mausoleum and the aqueduct, all clearly visible in their magnificence. After an emotional fly-past, Augustus leads visitors to the front of the original coloured version of the Ara Pacis in order to watch the sacrificial ritual that has been reconstructed in 3D and computer graphics and performed by real actors. Once the sacrifice is over, spectators are brought back to reality so that they can continue along the trail and take in all the details of the Ara Pacis provided by POIs 3-9.
At the end of the trail, Augustus appears in a procession, followed by his family, surrounded and protected by augurs (a type of priest), lictors (civil servants acting as bodyguards) and priests who accompany him as he performs a sacred ceremony. This is not merely the simple representation of a state ritual, but the image of the present and future of Rome as it lives through its institutions. For the first time ever, Augustus and his family, children included, can be seen on a public monument.
The Ara as it was – AN ACCOUNT IN AUGMENTED REALITY (from 14 October 2016)
13 January – 25 March: Friday and Saturday from 19.30 to 00:00 (last entry at 23:00)
from 31 March to 15 April: Friday and Saturday from 20 to 00.00 (last entry at 23:00)
from 21 April to 30 October 2017: every evening from 20 to 00.00 (last entry at 23:00)
Closed: 1 May
Full price: € 12.00
Reduced: € 10.00
booking is advisable on +39 060608 or online
Entrance will be organised in small groups subject to quotas.
CHILDREN UNDER 13 ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE VISORS
Info 060608 (every day 9.00 – 21.00)
Tickets can be bought online or over the phone by calling 060608 and at the museum itself prior to entry.