The PERSEUS project explores cultural heritage as a mediated experience and examines Museums and their space, as a powerful and decisive medium, which ICT technologies do not replace, but rather expand and augment, by intensifying the subject’s understanding and spreading out its duration to a time where “during”, “before” and “after” can infiltrate each other.
PERSEUS is an acronym of PERsonal muSEUmS, but it is also an allusion and a tribute to the mythological hero Perseus. As Italo Calvino pointed out Perseus is an admirable and commendable hero not just because he defeats its terrible adversary Medusa, but also because of how he went about it and what he did afterwards. Perseus doesn’t look directly at Medusa, he knows that looking directly at the dreadful face of the radical otherness would be fatal; he uses his shield as a mirror and guided by this reflection he manages to decapitate the monster. Perseus’ story is an homage to mediation; it is a reminder that if there could be a possibility of unmediated experience of this world it would probably petrify us.
PERSEUS recognizes the Museum as a powerful medium, a mediating agent, a shield, which provides significant reflections of our identity and constitutes an important foundation for the resilience and cohesion of contemporary societies. Museums have been for long our collective mirrors, where we reflect ourselves; the mirror that allows us to perceive and comprehend our changing identities. The radical otherness of digital media is another weapon that PERSEUS picks up, cherishes and uses in order to enhance and amplify the experience of the physical space of the Museum as an augmented and enriched medium.
PERSEUS was presented as a research project to a European Commission call for Virtual Museums, in February 2016, from a Consortium with numerous investigators and professionals from different fields. The coordination of the project was assigned to Athena RC (Coordinator of the project: Polyxeni Mantzou); and the Consortium was composed by: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology; Faculty of Fine Arts, Complutense University of Madrid; Estudio Herreros; Little Chicken Game Company; GVAM Guías Interactivas S.L.; Thyssen Bornemisza; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Μodern Αrt; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux (CAPC); National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum; Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M); Munch Museum; CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo. The proposal has not been selected for financing.