UNG:DOX

Paradise Lost

Mike Robbins, Harmke Heezen, Ioanna Valsamidou, Paris Mexis, Charis Lalousis, Manolis Manousakis & Yolanda Markopoulou / Yolanda Markopoulou, Titus Kreyenberg & Konstantina Stavrianou / Greece & Germany

An immersive voyage through time and space about the last minutes of a political prisoner’s life who was violently killed during “The Great Fire”in Izmir, turkey in 1922 while his wife flees with her two children leaving everything behind.

The Great Fire of Smyrna (Izmir) in 1922 is one of the darkest moments in the tumultuous history of the Greek-Turkish relations. As a consequence of the complex global and local geopolitical powerplay, two million people of Greek descent, crossed the Aegean Sea, same path refugees need to take today.

Based on a family archival letter, the director traces the last minutes of her great great grandfather’s life as a political prisoner while his wife had to leave everything behind and flee with her two children. He was imprisoned the night before the Great Fire breaks out. He was held in a room in the city’s guardhouse by the Turkish Army and killed the next day.

In this mixed reality experience, the viewer wearing a headset enters into a 1922 café . In the course of the story interchanging between the physical and the virtual world, through interaction with objects, the viewer will step into different vignettes of that time and into the shoes of our two characters Nikolaos and Iphigeneia. Through their POV’s and those of other secondary characters the story will unfold.
The children of the family face their loss of innocence coping with death for the first time, a street vendor is selling tea for a last time, a woman safe, from a a warship across the coastline is viewing the great fire through her opera binoculars, a trumpet player as part of a philharmonic orchestra on the ship is dictated to play as loud as he can so the screams of the people trying to survive at the port across, cannot be heard anymore…
Tthrough this family story, one, will experience the last moments of the destruction of this ‘paradise’ city traveling in and out of archive footage. In the experience, the use of hand tracking will allow audience members to interact with both real and virtual objects. Image tracking will be used to pin virtual images and meshes to physical objects.

The story has derived from a deep research of historical archives, films, interviews with historians and second and third generation descendants of refugees. The locations that are used are recreated through 3D animation. They are based on the actual locations the story takes place in Smyrna. We are taking the actual architectural designs from an significant research that was completed recently, pictures and drawings and reproducing them into the 3D environment. This combined with archive material will create a mixed reality experience where the historical footage will find a new life into this narrative. We are experimenting on ways the historical materials can be seen in an innovative way into the recreated virtual world engaging the viewer deeply and leading him through this poetic voyage. The found footage comes from super8 family archives, the Hellenic Broadcaster, the British as well as the French Gaumont Pathe.
Paradise Lost will be an innovative mix of AR with fully immersive VR. The audience transitions from being in a physical installation to a virtual cityscape in Smyrna by combining archival photography with illustration, 3D modelling, and motion capture, creating a unique and immersive environment.
Our goal is to reach younger audiences and inspire them to dive deep into a historical event and connect with what is happening in the world now.

Paradise Lost

Mike Robbins

Creative Technologist

Biography

Mike Robbins is co-founder of High Road Stories, a Berlin-based creative studio for immersive experiences. Founded in 2018, the studio focuses on innovative forms of storytelling, such as the VR experiences The Infinite Library, Place, and Fantaventura (with German rap legends Die Fantastischen Vier). Exhibition venues worldwide include the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the National Palace Museum in Taiwan, the Stadtpalais in Stuttgart, and the Munch Centre in Norway, and international film festivals such as CPH:DOX, IDFA, and the BFI London Film Festival.

Paradise Lost

Harmke Heezen

Experience Designer

Biography

Harmke Heezen is co-founder of High Road Stories, a Berlin-based creative studio for immersive experiences. Founded in 2018, the studio focuses on innovative forms of storytelling, such as the VR experiences The Infinite Library, Place, and Fantaventura (with German rap legends Die Fantastischen Vier). Exhibition venues include internationally renowned museums and galleries like the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin, and film festivals such as CPH:DOX, IDFA, and the BFI London Film Festival.

Paradise Lost

Ioanna Valsamidou

Co-writer / Dramaturg

Biography

Ioanna Valsamidou is a theatre researcher and dramaturge, she has been focused on documentary theatre, having worked in Germany and Greece. She has been occupied in productions by Onassis Cultural Foundation, Athens Epidaurus Festival, National Theatre of Greece, National Theatre of Dresden, HAU Berlin and other institutions. . She produced the artistic project on the digital spatial Allothroe Europe, with the participation of artists from Greece and Central Europe. She co-directed the Supper and An-estios, a series of performances based on documentation with homeless population, (street paper Shedia). She is the co-founder of mind the fact.

Paradise Lost

Paris Mexis

Production Designer

Biography

Paris Mexis is a director, designer and writer working in opera, theatre, dance, cinema, television and advertisement, creating shows, exhibitions, corporate events and promotional design. He is a creative associate of the multi awarded communication design agency Beetroot and an artistic associate of the international performance team ROOTLESSROOT. Paris Mexis was born in Athens and studied scenography in London at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (BA Theatre: Design for Performance, MA Scenography) and Prague at Divadelni fakulta Akademie Muzickych Umeni [DAMU] (Opera Design).

Paradise Lost

Charis Lalousis

3D Designer

Biography

In 2003 he graduated from the Department of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. He is active as a video, 3D and VR artist counting collaborations with Loukia Alavanou for the project “Looking for the Pillar” which represented Greece at the Venice Biennale 2022, with Yolanda Markopoulou for the production of the VR installation “White Dwarf” which premiered at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in November 2022, with Yiannis Kakleas for his theatrical productions from 2005 to 2009, with Medea Electronique, of which he is a member, with Athens Pride, as well as with private companies for series projects.

Paradise Lost

Manolis Manousakis

Sound Designer

Biography

Manolis Manousakis is working as a sound designer and composer for Film, Theater and Tv Shows. With studies in the US, Greece and England has been awarded a phd for his research on “Cross Arts _ Creative Production Methodologies”. As a member of Medea Electronique Collective he has been active as a producer and composer in experimental cross art projects with the use of interactive technologies such as VR film applications, Phone Apps and mixed media art installations.

Paradise Lost

Yolanda Markopoulou

Director - Co-Writer - Producer

Biography

Yolanda Markopoulou is a director creating interdisciplinary works with a focus in the use of site-specific locations and public space based in Athens, Greece. She has directed over thirty performances. She is in production of the documentary Station Athens (Agora Lab Prize 2021, TIDF 23). Her first VR Performance Installation work White Dwarf presented in TIFF Immersive, Guanajuato IFF, Strasbourg EU Fantastic Fest, B3 Festival in Germany and the Benaki Museum, Greece. She is an Onassis ONX NY member since 2022. She is the founder of Polyplanity Productions and the co-founder of mind the fact.