From 10 till 14 September the IPC and Stiftung Panorama Altötting received the international guests for the 23rd International Panorama Conference in Altötting, Germany. The mayor of Altötting, Herbert Hofauer was so kind to welcome us in the city hall of Altötting. Here the President Ernst Storm, Secretary Sylvia Alting van Geusau and the members of the Stiftung Panorama Alötting, Herbert Bauer, Hubert Schlederer and Gabriele Koller were privileged to sign the “golden book” of the city. Altötting is situated in Bavaria, the southern part of Germany and is well-known for its religious pilgrimages by Catholics in honor of Mary. But, of course, also for the Panorama of Jerusalem painted by Gebhard Fugel in 1902-1903.
The conference took place in the brand new conference building of Altötting with the newest equipment and spacious rooms. The building is next to the Panorama building with its beautiful panorama of the Crucifixion of Christ. During the conference the new Kultur+Kongress Forum Altötting hosted a new panorama installed by ICCI 360 from Plymouth University. During the opening the visitors could gaze at the twenty panoramas that were published in the book The Panorama Phenomenon, published in honor of the 125 years existence of the Panorama Mesdag in 2006. With five separate projectors twenty historical and contemporary panoramas were projected in the 360-degree rotunda.
Looking back on the talks that were held on 11 and 12 September the organization was pleased to see that all the talks fitted so well in the theme of The Panoramic Experience: Real-Virtual-Spiritual. The conference started with the spiritual experience with the talks of Gabriele Koller and Dr. Gebhard Streicher. Koller spoke about the history of the panorama of the Crucifixion of Christ and Streicher gave an interesting and personal talk about his grandfather the painter Gebhard Fugel. We travelled to New York in order to trace other Jerusalem panoramas with Suzanne Wray when she talked about the sacred sites in 19th Century New York City.
Blagovesta Momchedjikova took the conference into the Realwith the City-rama of the Queens Museum, a perfect scale model of New York. Molly Briggs bridged the themes of real and spiritual in her talk about the panoramic uncanny and Chicago’s West Side Parks. Erkki Huhtamo brought Asia to Paris in his talk about Louis Demoulin’s Panorama Tour du Monde. Machiko Kusahara focused on Japan in order to know more about the remains of the panorama of Sedan and asked the researchers to tell her if there are perhaps more remains of this panorama in Asia. Ralph Hyde had an visual amusing presentation about nineteenth century paper peepshows. Doing research on panoramas means a lot of work and dedication in order to find small bits and pieces. This was part of what Mimi Colligan shared in her personal IPC memories. Natasja Peeters and Sandrine Smets showed a special historical movie of the Panorama of the Yser. Next to the memories of historical panoramas there are also a lot of initiatives in order to keep the panorama alive. Gordon Jones from the Atlanta Cyclorama gave an update on the current restoration plans. Sara Velas showed her new project the Nova Tuskhut and Mao Wenbiao informed about the numerous Chinese panoramas that are being made.
The final theme of the conference was the virtual. Seth Thompson discussed the question of how new media can preserve cultural heritage. And Thiago Leitão discussed the possibility of creating panoramic images with a panoramapp! Dave Hotchkiss, Udo Hudelmaier and David Hilton showed the creativity of the ICCI team, not only with the films they are making for their rotunda, but also with the equipment they use. And they raised the question of the 360 degrees panorama format as a platform for animation as an art form. In the talk of Gregory Kahn Melitonov all three themes of the conference were combined in the mediatization of the church by Robert Schuller. From the Chrystal Cathedral, built in the late 1970s, he started to broadcast the Hour of Power, a television mass which is still broadcast in dozens of countries.
The Stiftung Panorama Altötting also arranged a post conference tour to Innsbruck and Salzburg. The participants visited the recently relocated Battle of Bergisel in Innsbruck. This was a beautiful addition to the last years’ conference visit to the Bourbaki panorama in Lucerne, for this was the same restoration team. Isabelle Brandauer, Christian Marty and Petra Helm gave us a guided tour in the panorama and its faux terrain which is now situated on a mountainside which overlooks the city of Innsbruck. After this Battle scene the participants were greeted by the team of Mrs. Wonisch-Langenfelder and Mr. Nikolaus Schaffer at the Sattler Panorama and Cosmoramas. While it was raining cats and dogs during our visit we could still experience the sunny landscape of the surroundings of Salzburg due to the Sattler Panorama. And the cosmoramas were so beautifully displayed that you could imagine yourself in these foreign sites. A few hours later this became reality when we had to say goodbye and return home.
We want to thank all participants and institutions who joined our conference, and especially the team of the Stiftung Panorama Altötting for organizing such an inspiring and perfect conference. We hope to see you all next year in Belgium/Luxembourg.