CREATIVE EUROPE MEDIA PROJECT The impressive fortress with the beautiful sounding name Belvedere-Gschwent stands out from the landscape. It also seems frightening. This oppressive feeling becomes even more intense when you walk through its corridors. Belvedere is one of seven fortresses built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire between the years 1909 and 1912 like a chain
CREATIVE EUROPE MEDIA PROJECT
The impressive fortress with the beautiful sounding name Belvedere-Gschwent stands out from the landscape. It also seems frightening. This oppressive feeling becomes even more intense when you walk through its corridors. Belvedere is one of seven fortresses built by the Austro-Hungarian Empire between the years 1909 and 1912 like a chain in the natural landscape of Lavarone in southern Trentino. They served as a line of defense against the Italian kingdom. Already at that time it seems to have been known that there would be a war – the First World War from 1914 to 1918, which claimed about 17 million victims.
Today the fortress is a museum. On a tour, visitors quickly realize what it meant to be a war soldier. Black and white photos on the walls tell about the dreary everyday life of the soldiers. And then there are those sounds – bombs being fired from the opposing side. Rooms were only sporadically furnished and windows hermetically sealed. The winters bitterly cold. It was very noisy here during the bombardment and the solid-ly built walls vibrated from the attacks. As a soldier, one was stuck here in darkness. It felt like being in a mousetrap. Soldiers kept their service here for up to a year. And what “luck” it was! Less than 10 soldiers lost their lives to attacks here. But the darkness, disturbing sounds and vibrations caused cases of suicide.
And then the visitor enters a room where a screen invites them to start playing. Gaming in a war museum? “THE RUDE AWAKENING is an innovative project to lure the younger generation back to the museum. We wanted to do this in an interactive way. Our goal was to confront them with history,” explains Enzo Carbonera, Art Director of the project, which is co-funded by the EU’s MEDIA program, a sub-program of Creative Europe.
A clever idea that he was able to implement together with nine European partners. The spirit of the project is to promote cooperation between European countries to prevent the madness of war from repeating itself. The game was created by the Roman company Centounopercento – 101% studios, which specializes in video games and virtual reality. “Video games account for the largest part of the entertainment industry,” explains Daniele Azara, Creative Director of 101% studios. “We see this as an opportunity to bring serious issues closer to young people in this way.”
THE RUDE AWAKENING is a multimedia journey tracing the daily lives of soldiers on the front lines from 1914 to 1919. In the museum, one playthrough takes about 15 minutes. Privately, count even four to five hours to master all four episodes. Players are confronted with claustrophobic conditions in the fortresses, the devastation of everyday life in the small towns near the front, and the collapse of hospitals due to the Spanish flu pandemic after the end of the war.
Since August 2021, the Game can be played in three museums and historical centers that address the theme of armed conflict: Forte Belvedere in Italy, Gornjesavski Muzej in Slovenia, and the Macedonian Center for Photography in the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Another four associations and NGOs dealing with the issues of memory and peace education through cultural promotion activities are also involved: ALDA (France), Memoire pour la vie (France), The World of NGOs (Austria) and the magazine danube connects (Germany). And, of course, the municipality of Lavarone, which hosts the historic sites, including Belvedere-Gschwent.