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Tech like an Egyptian

by Donald Eubank

Egypt may be known for its history, but this week in Tokyo some of its most advanced cultural technology will be on display. The Egyptian Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage is touring Japan with CULTURAMA, a semi- circular set of screens displaying the interiors of ancient tombs, the history of the pharaohs, and panoramic scenes of Cairo from the Nile, Alexandria and more.

A computer projects interactive footage across a 10-meter-diameter set of nine screens, allowing the presenter to show more information about — for example — Thotmosis III, who built the botanical garden in the Karnak Temple. With one mouse click, the garden is revealed, with its walls on which the pharaoh documented the wildlife known in Egypt in his time. Another click shows modern photos and the scientific background of the animals and plants. Think of it as the Internet made big. Stunning views combine with an “edutainment” agenda that will satisfy the curiosity of anyone interested in the land of the pyramids. CULTURAMA programs feature ancient Egyptian history, a tour of modern Egypt, a virtual visit to Luxor, and Islamic and Coptic architectural history.

If you can’t go to Egypt in person, head to the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Roppongi, where CULTURAMA is open to the public from Oct. 16-24.

CULTURAMA shows run for 45 minutes from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the hour at GRIPS, 7-22-1 Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo. For more information, call (03) 6439-6000.