Title:The European Cycloramas—19th-Century Virtual Reality and the Internet
Authors:Niko Hofinger
Publication:MW99: Museums and the Web 1999

They show national myths like battles or migration, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ or just the surrounding landscape - out of a few hundred in the 18th and 19th century, 13 remaining European cycloramas are witnesses of the first virtual reality industry that produced 10.000 square feet large illusive paintings. Photographer/historian Arno Gisinger and webmaster/historian Niko Hofinger tried to throw a bridge to the actual virtual reality enthusiasm by realizing the homepage of the Innsbruck giant panoramic painting "Die Schlacht am Bergisel 1809" with quicktime vr and more than 100 explaining pages about the panorama phenomenon. On the European cyclorama society meeting in November 1998, a network of the virtual reality dinosaurs will be established and realized by Gisinger and Hofinger. challenge of this enterprise will be to bring the cycloramas out of their antiquated image back to the place they deserve as important cultural heritage of Europe. My speech will cover the historical background of antique virtual reality as well as the presentation of this unique cooperation of cycloramas in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Poland, and Switzerland.