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Sunday, March 6 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Mapping Ararat: Remembering an Imaginary Jewish Homeland

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Mapping Ararat: An Imaginary Jewish Homelands Project is a collaborative digital art and humanities project that reanimates Mordecai Noah's 1825 plan to transform Grand Island New York (located in the Niagara River near Buffalo on the border between the United States and Canada) into Ararat, a "city of refuge for the Jews." While this bold plan failed, it was the first attempt to create an autonomous Jewish state in modern times. Utilizing the new digital technology augmented reality this project offers Noah’s Ararat the chance to become a virtual reality. This presentation will review the major components of the on-site augmented reality walking tour of Ararat that consists of a series of electronic monuments, buildings, and landmarks (whether a virtual synagogue or a port of entry). Shiff will also screen the short film Mapping Ararat: Globally Positioned Sites as part of her presentation. Shiff will end her presentation with a sneak preview of her current project Imaginary Jewish Homelands, for which she was recently awarded a five year grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Imaginary Jewish Homelands explores the proposals of I.N Steinberg, leader of the Freeland League for Jewish Colonization who sought to find a place for the Jews to settle outside of Europe during the time of the Holocaust.

avatar for Melissa Shiff

Melissa Shiff

Research Associate, Sensorium Centre for Digital Art and Technology, York University
Personal websites: www.melissashiff.com, www.mappingararat.com Melissa Shiff is a digital media artist whose current work utilizes augmented reality to engage with Jewish cultural memory. Shiff’s highly acclaimed projects have been exhibited internationally at such institutions... Read More →

Sunday March 6, 2016 2:00pm - 2:50pm EST