App to tell the history behind the Lion of Lucerne


Lucerne – The Visual Narrative research group from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is bringing the historical background of the Lion of Lucerne to life. As the monument celebrates its 200th birthday next year, the research group has developed an app by the name of “Revive la revolution” to mark the occasion.


As the 200th birthday of the Lion of Lucerne monument draws ever closer, the Visual Narrative research group from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) has developed the Augmented Revolution Experience (ARE) – Revive la revolution app. Over several years of work, the group examined how cultural heritage could be staged more interactively and brought closer to a wider audience by constructing a narrative told via mobile technologies. As Samuel Frei, who headed up the research group, explained in the HSLU press release, the original meaning of cultural heritage can often remain hidden in the general hustle and bustle of modern tourism.


For this project, Frei’s group joined forces with the Lucerne Museum of History and the L21 project. The Federal Office of Culture provided financial backing in the amount of 164 thousand Swiss francs. The app is available for download from November 7 on iPhones and iPad from the Apple App Store free of charge. It is aimed, among other groups, at the approximately one million people who visit the Lion of Lucerne each year.


By using a form of Augmented Reality, the ARE app brings to life the story behind the Lion of Lucerne, which was opened in 1821. The rock relief monument commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris in 1792.


The narrative scenarios are based on the Vive la révolution theater tour of the Lucerne Museum of History, which was newly staged in the augmented room for the research project. In this way, viewers suddenly find themselves at the heart of the scene in the Tuileries Palace for a first-hand experience of the battle played out here nearly 230 years ago. It is a way of allowing cultural heritage to be experienced as contemporary history in motion.


“We combine the history behind the monument with the opportunities offered to us by modern digital technologies”, according to ARE project leader Tobias Matter from HSLU. And yet, this modern technology is regarded merely as the “means to and end”, as Matter explains that people absorb knowledge most effectively when they experience it with multiple senses.

Visual Narrative research group

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