Digital Archaeology Project of Oplontis (DAPO) was developed together with Parco Archeologico di Pompei, The Oplontis Project team, Torre Annunziata community and Alta Scuola Politecnica in order to create a new way to bring history to life.
For more than a decade, an interdisciplinary team of scholars (Oplontis Project team) has been documenting and uncovering the history behind the site: Villa of Poppea at Oplontis, located in the city of Torre Annunziata. However, despite the site being deeply studied, the content was never completely translated and a system to disseminate the findings to the general public wasn’t put in place.
DAPO team was conceived to create a way to bridge these contents and share it to enhance the site history through the diffusion of the work done by the scholars and researchers giving a new perspective for the content that could be better shared and understood by the local and the worldwide community. The DAPO team followed the design methodology of Collect, Define, Ideate, Design, Share and Evaluate throughout the development of the project.
More specifically, the team started from collecting information regarding opportunities in the cultural heritage sector and the current status of the villa. Through desk and field researches, direct interviews with the stakeholders (scholars, visitors, and locals), we defined that the main issue for Oplontis is related to the dissemination of the knowledge in an engaging way.
Once stakeholders’ requirements have been clarified, the DAPO deliberated the solution to be a digital interactive onsite experience, which leverages different technologies (holographic projections, 8D audio, position tracking, interactive objects) blended with narrative solutions (first person narration, creation of storylines and tasks) to offer an immersive visit. In particular, the experience is based on the “revival” of a typical event happened inside the Villa: a party. The visitor, with the narration, will be able to choose a path and impersonate one specific character (the owner, the guest, the slave, the artist) and explore the site taking the perspective of that role.
After the general design of the solution, the DAPO team focused on the development of a pilot, in order to explore people’s reception of this typology of experience. Detailed content and scripts have been created for Room 18 (also known as Room 69 in academic sources), which seemed suitable to represent the overall idea. Given the difficulties from COVID-19, to actually test the concept, a Desktop Walkthrough (a mockup of the site in which the environment and the touchpoints are reproduced on a small scale) has been chosen.
From the feedback collected from 20 testers, the solution, despite some improvement areas such as the complexity and the guidance expected, was considered appealing and able to create a much higher engagement compared with traditional visits. In particular, the solution allowed the testers to experience the everyday life of the character they chose.
As a conclusion, the DAPO project designed an innovative solution for the cultural heritage sector, allowing to live, in first person, the archaeological site. This would meet the requirements of several stakeholders and potentially could have a huge impact on Oplontis but also on Torre Annunziata and the surroundings.
PRINCIPAL ACADEMIC TUTOR
Francesca PIREDDA | Politecnico di Milano, Design Department, IMAGIS Lab | Designer
OTHER ACADEMIC TUTORS
Davide SPALLAZZO | Politecnico di Milano, Design Department | Designer
Mauro CECONELLO | Politecnico di Milano, Design Department | Architect
Pier Paolo PERUCCIO | Politecnico di Torino, Architecture and Design Department | Architect
Gianluca GRIGATTI | Politecnico di Torino, Architecture and Design Department
Paola MENZARDI | Politecnico di Torino, Architecture and Design Department | Designer
Danilo PESCE | Politecnico di Torino, Management and Production Engineering Department | Engineer
Timothy LIDDELL, Cornell University // Bachelors of Architecture Politecnico di Milano // Product Design for Innovation
Alta Scuola Politecnica // 13th Cycle, Architect + Designer.
John CLARKE, The Oplontis Project // Director, University of Texas // Department of Art and Art History Professor of Art History, Archaeologist, Austin, Texas (USA); Rome, Italy.
Michael THOMAS, Co-Director // The Oplontis Project Professor // The University of Texas at Dallas Professor, Archaeologist
Dallas Texas (USA).
Ivo VAN DER GRAAF, The Oplontis Project // Field Director, University of New Hampshire // Department of Art and Art History
Professor, Archaeologist, Durham, New Hampshire (USA).
TEAM MEMBERS Alessandro Fumi, Management Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Anastasia Paltseva, Interior and Spatial Design, Politecnico di Milano
Camilla Isotta Dessalvi, Architecture – Built Env. – Interiors, Politecnico di Milano
Fabio Wang, Management Engineering, Politecnico di Milano
Giuseppe Temisio, Engineering and Management, Politecnico di Torino
Lucia Pierangeli, Product Service System Design, Politecnico di Milano
Gabriele Morgan Pereira, Product Service System Design, Politecnico di Milano
Zhang Zhan, Digital and Interaction Design, Politecnico di Milano