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    NewsAfricaTutankhamen, the immersive exhibition on the child Pharaoh who reigned 3,000 years ago

    Tutankhamen, the immersive exhibition on the child Pharaoh who reigned 3,000 years ago

    The November 4, 1922British archaeologist Howard Carterengaged in a hitherto unsuccessful search for Tutankhamen’s tomb, stumbled upon a rubble-strewn door at the bottom of some stone steps, deep in the Valley of the Kings. “With trembling hands, I made a hole in the upper left corner. It was dark on the other side. I inserted a candle and looked inside. As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I began to make out shapes of strange animals, statues, and, of course, everywhere, the glitter of gold”. This is how the Egyptologist recounted in his diary what happened on that historic day.

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    “To those next to me, the wait must have seemed like an eternity. I was dumbstruck. Lord Carnarvon – who financed the archaeologist’s search for years – could not take the strain any longer. – Do you see anything, Carter? – Yes , wonders. What appeared in the dim light of the candle had not been seen by human eyes for three thousand years. It was the most precious treasure found by archaeologists“.

    One of the informative rooms in the exhibition dedicated to Tutankhamen in Matadero
    Adolfo Ortega

    Tutankhamun, the Immersive Exhibitionbrings us closer to that extraordinary discovery one hundred years after the event and is one of the attractions of the season in the field of this type of exhibition. Its deployment requires the only permanent center in Madrid for these experiences: MAD Madrid Digital Arts, in ship 16 of Matadero.

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    Howard Carter cleaning Tutankhamen's sarcophagus.

    Carter’s initial impression, venturing that he was the first to see these treasures after three thousand years, was very grand but proved incorrect. A gang of looters had passed through that place, judging by the disorder in which the objects were found, as had happened in thousands of tombs in Egypt since the time of the pharaohs. The normal thing is that a few days after any burial, a gang of criminals will appear at night to perpetrate the theft, almost always after having obtained internal information from the court itself or from the embalmers. In this case, the knaves were unable to complete their plan for some unknown reason. The Tebas Civil Guard would surprise them, perhaps.

    Room in which the sarcophagus and the tomb of Tutankhamun are recreated
    Room in which a coffin and Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus are recreated
    Adolfo Ortega

    The exhibition contains very well designed information panels and replicas of some fundamental objects found, such as a gold coffin or the red quartzite sarcophagus where the Pharaoh rested, but The most spectacular part of the exhibition is a large room where a 360º animation is projected that covers the four walls and also the floor.. There are 1,200 square meters of projection, says the organization. Viewers feel completely immersed in a half-hour narrative that places them in Egypt around 1300 BC. c., letting themselves be carried away by imaginary landscapes and environments, following the details of the discovery of the tomb or entering temples illuminated by torches.

    Enter the replica of the four rooms of the tomb, reproduced in life-size in this exhibition, also constitute an interesting experience. The enclosure is empty, although it seems pierced in stone, but some objects can be virtually discovered thanks to the tablet with Augmented Reality that are delivered at the entrance to the enclosure, and thus solve incidentally an interactive game.

    360º projection in the immersive exhibition of Tutankhamun
    360º projection in the immersive exhibition of Tutankhamun
    Adolfo Ortega

    The paradoxical thing about the great popularity that Tutankhamen’s tomb has gained is that it does not match the grandeur of a funerary enclosure destined for a pharaoh. Everything indicates that this last resting place had to be improvised on the fly, since the young age at which he died (17 years old), due to sepsis caused by a knee injury, did not allow preparing the appropriate funeral tribute. The decoration and dimensions have no comparison with the tombs of other pharaohs and it is speculated that his popular death mask was not even intended for him.

    Beyond the legend that surrounds the Child Pharaoh, the curse that persecuted those who entered his tomb and died in mysterious circumstances, the historical relevance of his mandate is remarkable, especially in the religious sphere. Tutankhamun returned to the cult of multiple gods that his father truncated, akhenatenwho caused considerable havoc in the spiritual life of Egypt by decreeing the existence of a single God, Aten, symbolized by the Sun. Many temples were left unused and the priests in low hours. The management of monotheism requires much less personnel than the attention to hundreds of gods, with which the guild received the arrival of Tutankhamen like May rain -very appreciated in those parts.

    Recreation of a tomb in 'Tutankhamun, the immersive exhibition'
    Recreation of a tomb in ‘Tutankhamun, the immersive exhibition’
    Adolfo Ortega

    Returning to our walk through this exhibition, after the immersive room and before access to the tomb chambers, the expectation that forms around the AI Photo Booth., a curious attraction that reproduces street booths to take ID photos. Sitting behind the curtain, we wait to make ourselves a portrait in which we automatically appear characterized as if we were Ramses XII, Amenophis V or Cleopatra VIII -which are the numbers that touch. The results are downloaded with a QR code and arouse a lot of laughter, because the compositions are sometimes a bit shocking. –That’s me? I come out ugly!– A girl said when she saw her characterization. In my case, I have to say that there are mummies currently looking better than the photo in question. Fun after all.

    Virtual Reality room in the immersive exhibition on Tutankhamun
    Virtual Reality room in the immersive exhibition on Tutankhamun
    Adolfo Ortega

    To end the exhibition tour, I could not miss an experience of Virtual Reality, in this case very pertinent to make an amazing trip to the Beyond. From a bird’s eye view – hold on tight to the chair – mountains are flown over and gates seconded by imposing supernatural beings are crossed, all surrounded by bubbling rivers of lava, in an environment more typical of a Hawaiian volcano than of the arid plains of Luxor. They are licenses that we accept to live eight minutes of fast-paced virtual fantasy. It is about imagining the mysterious paths traced in the Book of the Dead -the funerary text of Ancient Egypt- that led the souls before the judgment of osiris, to access the new life. Let’s hope it will be many years from now, but at least we already know that the trip is very attractive.


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