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Best Sequence: augmented reality and cultural heritage


Twenty years ago, Petr Mikšíček was doing a Masters in cultural anthropology, looking for a topic for his dissertation. “With no money, lots of time, and not really knowing what to do with my life, I decided to travel around Czechia by foot. And I found the theme of my life…” he says.

Over a 3-month, 1000 km solo tour of Czechia, Petr became fascinated with the Czech-German borderlands: “I call it the hidden civilisation of the Germans.” This area, also known as Sudetenland, changed hands several times in the past, making it a fascinating topic for anthropological research. After the Second World War, Sudeten Germans were expelled, and the area is now principally Czech-speaking.

Petr’s research led to his dissertation, a book, an exhibition, and a website about the changes in the cultural landscape over the past century. In 2006, his book, ‘The Sudeten Way’ was nominated for the Czech literature prize.

As part of his efforts to popularise the history of the Czech-German borderlands, in 2014 Petr founded Best Sequence, an audiovisual production company. The company works on commercial projects with a wide range of clients, from fast food chains to the German and Czech national achaeological institutions. Best Sequence’s current project - their largest yet - combines film, photography, and Augmented Reality (AR), and was supported by an EU-guaranteed loan from Komercni Banka, backed by the EIF under the Investment Plan for Europe. The project aims to produce 3D-reconstructions of abandoned villages, churches, and houses in the Ore Mountains that were devastated by the Soviet army in the 1950s and 60s, when this uranium-rich zone was restricted for Soviet use. The resulting animations will be accessible through a smartphone app. “I have tried everything: writing, filming, photography, but AR is by far the best instrument I have come across to bring history to life,” says Petr. “Users can point their phones at the ruins of a building, and their screen will bring it to life. It’s the best way to learn about the past. Digital technology allows us to connect with the past in ways we couldn’t before. Instead of seeing holes in a field, now you can see what the building used to look like.”

“The cultural memory of this border region is disappearing. It’s important to keep retelling the story of Czechs and Germans working and living together. There is no more place for animosity in this region. We are all Europeans. We need to fill this region with energy, friendship and culture again,” he adds, underlining the bigger picture. For the last eight years Petr has also organised an annual art festival in the Ore Mountain village of Königsmühle, to help put an end to the abandonment of settlements in the Czech-German borderlands and bring cultural life back to this area.

Company: Best Sequence

Type of business: audiovisual

EIF financing: Cultural & Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS)EFSI

Financial intermediary: Komercni Banka

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Czech Republic, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/cz


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