Ars Electronica Festival: D.Efraimoglou Speech

The Foundation of the Hellenic World is a private non-profit cultural institution based in Athens, Greece. Its primary goal is to record, study and present all aspects of Hellenic Civilisation, from Prehistoric times to the present, throughout the world, utilising both modern and traditional technologies. The underlying concept behind the creation of the Foundation is the notion that the study of the past promotes historical understanding. We view history as a guiding force in one's life, and a means of gaining self-knowledge.

Our staff includes archaeologists, historians, architects, museologists, educationalists, computer scientists, graphic designers, producers of multimedia presentations and 3D animation modelers.

At present, the people of the Foundation are working on a wide variety of projects. Most of these are undertaken exclusively by our staff, whereas other projects are realised in cooperation with acclaimed academic and technological institutions in Greece and abroad. The following are some of our most important current projects:

  1. The presentation of Hellenic History on the Internet. We are working on the creation of 15 web sites that will cover 10000 years of Hellenic History. At the same time we are creating web sites on various subjects: the Olympic Games; the first Council Houses; the first modern Greek Council House; Travellers of the 17th Century; the Byzantine Town of Mystras and others. A mirror of our web site is kindly hosted in the AEC.

  2. The compilation of an electronic Data Bank documenting the long Hellenic presence in Asia Minor. The data bank, consisting of four Thesauri enriched by interactive encyclopaedias, digital maps and architectural drawings, is intended for use both by the academic community and the general public.

  3. The Genealogy project which aims at reconstructing the family trees of Asia Minor refugees who migrated to Greece after the Turkish-Greek War of 1922.

  4. In addition, we have educational programs and activities aimed at familiarising the public with the basic concepts of history, and promoting historical understanding and collective memory. Some of these programs are targeted at children and young adults; others are based on the idea of life-long and informal learning for all.

  5. Of course, one of our most important projects is the creation of scientifically accurate three-dimensional digital representations of architectural monuments. Up to now, we are constructing two types of digital models:
      The speaker showing the video
    1. Highly detailed photorealistic digital models of historical buildings. These can be used to create still images and video animations in order to enrich web pages, CD-ROMs, educational programs and documentaries. Of course, they can also be used in virtual reality presentations. Examples of such models are those of the Council House of ancient Miletus (shown in AEC's CAVE), the Theatre that you see in the video and 7 other public buildings of Miletus.
    2. VRML digital models used in Web sites, such as the model of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, currently accessible in our Olympic Games web site, and the model of the ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, which will soon be accessible in a web site designed specifically to host it.

  6. Besides the above mentioned projects, the Foundation offers scholarships and grants to students and research-teams, in order to support further development in studies and research about Hellenism throughout history.
The principal objective of the Foundation is the creation of an innovative centre that will present Hellenic history and culture to the public in a modern way, offering a wide range of interactive learning experiences, taking advantage of information technology, interactive multimedia and interpretative exhibitions, or, alternatively through conventional exhibits. The centre, which will open to the public around the end of the century, will be situated on a large plot of land near the center of Athens. It will consist of several buildings designed according to the latest developments in museology.

In conclusion, I would like to express our thanks for the opportunity you have given us to present the work of the Foundation within the framework of the Ars Electronica Festival. We hope that our participation will mark the beginning of a future cooperation and exchange of views as regards to new technologies and their applications in the fields of Art and Culture. We feel that we are pioneers in Greece in the use of computer graphics, three-dimensional models, and virtual reality for cutlural purposes, with the aim to open new horizons, preserving and conveying our history to the younger generations. We wish to develop the best possible relations with other modern museums and cultural institutions worldwide.

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Dimitris Efraimoglou / dimitris (AT)