I AM ASHURBANIPAL, BRITISH MUSEUM
Centre Screen completed four AV interventions for a fascinating new exhibition at the British Museum – ‘I am Ashurbanipal, King of the world, King of Assyria!’
‘I am Ashurbanipal’ showcases a vast collection of Assyrian treasures, and uses these ancient artefacts to tell the story of one of the most powerful kings on earth who ruled Assyria, present day Iraq, from circa 669BCE to 631BCE.
Centre Screen worked closely with the British Museum design team to find ways to bring these stone reliefs to life, using subtle projection techniques to enhance the interpretation provided by graphic text.
Accurate colouration was projection mapped onto stone reliefs of the Gardens of Nineveh and of three apotropaic figures or mythical wardens, giving visitors an insight into the colourful world of Ashurbanipal’s reign.
Alongside, large scale reliefs depicting Ashurbanipal’s victory at the Battle of Til Tuba and the subsequent celebrations (ca. 653 BCE) provide more fascinating focal points for gallery visitors.
Pixel-perfect mapping highlights key scenes from this significant battle and its aftermath. Captions adapted from the original inscriptions add an engaging, accurate, and easy to follow narrative. An atmospheric soundtrack, composed using instruments of the time, Assyrian voices and ululation, adds to the drama.
‘Getting the opportunity to work directly with ancient artefacts is rare, and we really relished it’, explained Motion Designer Joel Hepworth. ‘Often, due to their fragile nature, alternative methods are used to present and interpret objects like these. But in the British Museum, we’ve been allowed to project directly onto the surface of these wonderful reliefs, creating a live connection between past and present. The painstaking artworking of images, careful colour balancing, and delicate projection mapping really brings them to life, and helps the viewer see into a world long since past.’
The final AV in the gallery features a series of contemporary interviews with the Keeper of the Middle East Department at the British Museum, and with Iraqi curators and archaeologists from Mosul participating in the Museum’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme.
The film illustrates poignantly the deliberate and systematic destruction of heritage in Iraq and Syria, including large parts of the ancient sites of Nimrud and Nineveh, and the inspiring steps being taken to address this destruction and consequently protect Iraqi heritage for the future, through cultural heritage management and practical fieldwork skills.
Find out more at https://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/ashurbanipal.asp