Stephen Smith Talks New Dimensions in Testimony in Johannesburg, South Africa

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 5:00pm

Smith on the NDT set Smith on the NDT set
USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith will discuss New Dimensions in Testimony on Sept. 6 at the conference Remembering the Holocaust and Genocide in the Digital Age, hosted by the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC).

On Monday, Sept. 5, Smith will participate in a panel discussion with Tali Nates, director of JHGC, and Matthew Boswell from the University of Leeds about the documentary films Living in Auschwitz and Kozminek – unknown history, Jews.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, Smith will speak, along with Boswell, to a select group of scholars and invited guests on “The Future of Holocaust Memory in the Digital Age.”

That evening, Smith will give the plenary lecture on “Imagining Virtual Survivor Testimony: Memory and Education in the Digital Age.” The lecture will be followed by a Q&A with Nates and Boswell.

Both presentations will pay particular focus on New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT), USC Shoah Foundation and Conscience Display’s project to record 3D, interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors. NDT is a 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.

Though this emergent technology is still developing, the beta version already enables students to interact with the projected image of a real Holocaust survivor, which responds to questions in real time. The survivor selected for the demo project, Pinchas Gutter, is among the 53,000 survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and genocide whose testimonies live in the Visual History Archive. But the NDT project is a different initiative. For this, Gutter was interviewed again, this time before 50 cameras arranged in a rig to capture a three-dimensional recording of him telling his story in a new way, by answering questions that people are most likely to ask.

NDT’s installation at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) this summer is coming to an end this month. The next installation will be at a museum in the United States to be announced.