Production year: 2019-2020
Jonas Abkjær Andersen, Museum Vestsjælland, project lead, idea, concept and research
Martin Pavon, Museum Vestsjælland, research
Rikke Elise Roos, Museum Vestsjælland, research
Anette Månsson, Museum Vestsjælland, research
Matias Seidler, Khora, concept
Rolf Bender, Khora, project management
Christopher Schnoor, Khora, manuscript
Pia Hansen, Khora, 3D and VFX artist
Anders Bjørn Rørbæk Pedersen, Khora, Sound Design
Andreas Ryge, Khora, Programming
The 1806 Fire at St. Bendt’s Church in virtual reality
The monastery and its impressive church, St. Bendt's Church has stood here since 1100. The fire is violent and ignites the thatched roof of the monastery's barn buildings. Soon the fire spreads to the church. The lead roof melts, the bells detach and crash down through the tower, the spire with the cross topples over the roof and falls down into the grass in front of the church.
The townspeople, the priest and the churchmen stand terrified before the burning buildings. Large parts of the church are destroyed and the fire rages through Ringsted town, leaving houses in ruins and people homeless.
The Monastery burns down completely while St. Bendts Church survives, badly damaged. This event was the starting point for a completely new type of immersive presentation using virtual reality at Museum Vestsjælland. We recreated the entire dramatic day in a VR experience where the viewer stands in the middle of the disaster and experiences the fire, the danger and the fear of the townspeople first hand.
In a collaboration between Museum Vestsjælland and Khora we aimed to capture the atmosphere of the disaster as it might have been experienced on that early summer morning in 1806.
Some of the expressions are educated guesses, but we have taken pains to place ourselves as close as possible to the 1800s in terms of the appearance of the town and its people.
To recreate the fire and the way it spread through the buildings, we drew on known recordings of church fires such as the fire in Notre Dame in 2019 and the fire in Roskilde Cathedral in 1968.
The experience is accompanied by a priest's voice narrating the fateful day. The sound design is based on original written sources from the church's pastor at the time. This provides a highly accurate and experience-based VR representation of the Ringsted fire of 1806.
The immersive experience is in 360 degrees with a heavy emphasis on spatial sound design to increase visitor’s sense of immersion. If you look around you can see the surroundings of Ringsted in 1806 and the sound design is carefully made to support and amplify the overall experience, where extra care has been taken to create a dramatic ambiance and a soundscape that uses sound depth and direction.
The virtual reality experience is part of a new exhibition opening at Ringsted Museum on Sunday, 30th August 2020, and is also released as a 360-experience in our free app Tidslommen, used for experiencing cultural heritage sites in immersive ways.How to watch the YouTube link provided (remember headphones and to turn the quality to 8K): - If you have a pair of VR-goggles, we recommend using them - If you use a smartphone, open the video in your YouTube-app and move the phone around - If you are on a desktop computer, drag with the mouse to look around