New Dimension in Testimony project staff Heather Maio, left, and Kia Hays, right, with the display of Pinchas Gutter at USHMM
Members of the public can interact with New Dimensions in Testimony in its first un-moderated pilot at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. now through Labor Day.
The display is in the Wexner Center Room 1, Friday-Tuesday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Wednesday – Thursday 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
New Dimensions in Testimony is USC Shoah Foundation’s collection of testimonies designed as an interactive educational tool to permit students far into the future to “talk” with Holocaust survivors about their life experiences. New Dimensions in Testimony incorporates interview content recorded with advanced filming techniques, next-generation natural language processing, and specialized display technologies to deliver a learning environment where a survivor answers questions as if he or she were in the room.
Twelve Holocaust survivors have been interviewed for New Dimensions in Testimony - all of whom already gave their testimonies to USC Shoah Foundation in the 1990s - including Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Eva Kor and Aaron Elster.
The pilot interview with survivor Pinchas Gutter already debuted at Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center last year, however, museum docents moderated the conversations between the virtual Gutter and audiences.
At USHMM, any visitor can approach the display and speak into a microphone to ask Gutter a question directly.
During its first few days at the museum, hundreds of visitors of all ages and backgrounds interacted with New Dimensions in Testimony. Some returned multiple times to ask more questions. Others at first mistook the display of Gutter as a Skype call because the technology is so lifelike and it answers questions so accurately.
New Dimensions in Testimony is a collaboration between USC Shoah Foundation and USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), in partnership with concept developer Conscience Display.