With Advanced Laser Tech, Sensors And Sounds, King David’s Journey Comes Alive In Jerusalem’s Old City
Advanced technologies are bringing the rich past of Jewish history to life, with the return of King David to Jerusalem’s Old City as part of an innovative, cinematic production by the Tower of David Museum set to draw thousands of guests.
The museum recently launched King David, an unprecedented nighttime show bringing the majestic story of David, from shepherd-to-king to the ancient walls of the citadel next to Jaffa Gate. The 45-minute show, part of the museum’s Night Spectacular series, takes viewers on a surreal journey, projected onto the walls and archaeological excavations of the ancient citadel, into the life some 3,000 years ago of the “young and handsome shepherd boy in the fields of Bethlehem” who becomes a courageous warrior, a celebrated poet and gifted musician, and eventually a monarch who ruled over the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah.
While Night Spectacular, which tells the story of Jerusalem through lights and sounds, has been running for a decade, attracting some 2 million viewers, the new King David production includes advanced laser and sensor technology, combined with music, lights, and color, for a full sensory experience that leaves the audience captivated by the enhanced journey into the biblical past.
On arrival to the citadel, the audience takes a tour “through the pathways among the archaeological findings that bear witness to the history of Jerusalem, from the walls of the Crusaders 13th century, the 8th round tower to the remains of King Herod’s guard rooms from the palace 2000 years ago. Waterfalls cascade down the sides of the citadel, which, in turn, are replaced by lush vegetation inspired from the stories of David escaping to the oasis in Ein Gedi. The oasis disappears as well only to be replaced by the very words of the Bible,” the museum says.
“The Tower of David has brought his timeless story to life using both technology and creativity to journey back in time to the days of the Bible, to travel through great works of art inspired by this poet and warrior, and to celebrate him in a concert of music, color and light,” says Eilat Lieber, director of the Tower of David Museum.
The production also uses the works by world-famous artists who captured “the heroic figure and ancient images of David in manuscripts and mosaics tell the story of Jerusalem’s king,” taking the audience on a virtual tour among art by Chagall, Matisse, Michelangelo and others in an artistic tribute to the artists, painters and sculptors who immortalized the image of the celebrated King David.”
“The only way to match an already successful night experience that covers the epic topic of the history of Jerusalem was to find an equally compelling story to tell,” says Renee Sivan, an archeologist and specialist in heritage presentation who is the concept creator and curator of King David and was the original concept creator and curator of the Night Spectacular. “The multi-fascinated and fascinating character of King David who has inspired artists for hundreds of years was certainly a most fitting subject to explore at the Tower of David,” she said in a museum press release.
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“In the show we have tens of works of art crossing all time periods and styles. I chose from a large variety of well-known artists, such as Chagall, Rembrandt, Matisse and Caravaggio but we also took from Jewish and Christian medieval illuminations as well as Ethiopian representations. For example, the scene of the anointing of David by the Prophet Samuel is based on the well know Dura Europus Synagogue fresco, a synagogue from the 3rd cent. C.E. that still exists in Syria. The representation of the Philistines is based on the famous Medinet Habu relief from the Late Bronze Age that was found in Egypt” says Sivan.
A quick search for images of King David will turn up hundreds of works in different styles, she says, adding that “the movement and the sharpness of the laser technology brings the subjects to life in 3-dimensions and makes the show that much more remarkable.”
According to the Tower of David Museum, the show uses the largest installation of Lumen Single Chip M-Vision Laser projectors in the world – 18,000 to be exact, at the cost of some $850,000 for the projectors and sound system alone. The projectors, the museum says, “were chosen for the quality of their high definition projection and their ability to map images on the ancient stones of walls of the citadel.” The trompe l’oeil effects and multi-sensory experience are made possible by 18 mapped projected images using 18 laser projectors, 20 speakers and 10km of different types of cable.
With a cast of over 50 actors, an original music score was composed by the French musician Alexandre Lévy, lights, animation and arts productions Night Spectacular cost some $2.15 million to put together, with partial investments from the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Jerusalem Municipality.
King David will be open to the public on April 1st and will run twice a night on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday evenings.
The exceptional show comes on the heels of the Tower of David Museum’s launch of its new innovation lab in Jerusalem, a center to support companies in their development of unique tech solutions catering to the museum’s visitor experience. The lab held its first round of applications, seeking startups specializing in AR, VR, MR, and 360 technology in December.