Welcome Back to the Empire is an Alternate History Internet project basing it self on the life of Alexander the Great moving forward in history through invented or real events. The combining of the three below noted platforms will assist us in the intention.
- Platform 1: Alexander Ill of Macedonia had not died on June 13,323 BC in Babylon after his return from India but recovered from malaria and consolidated his forces. The Empire did not fall apart. He lived on, firmly ruling and expanding the empire. He undertook a successful expedition in Arabia as planned and conducted a serious reorganization of the Empire. The monetary policy was based on a uniform currency system. These will be the starting parallels of the project. The first platform is concepted on receiving of alternate history stories about the subject through the Internet, which will serve as a basis for the entire project. The participants should concentrate on essential questions. for instance: How will the existence of a strong universal state spreading over 3 continents with the utmost diverse cultures affect the lives of the people? How will the cultures interact one with another? Will this politically and otherwise strengthened cultural system known widely as Hellenism move to a higher merging of cultures. What will this mean on the economical, sociological, religious, educational and all of the other platforms you can imagine? How will the empire develop? What will the educational system be like? How will Alexander’s teacher Aristotle influence the Empire? Monotheism? Christianity, Islam? Will they be possible in the given parameters? If yes, how will they affect the Empire ? If not, what will? Is the empire flexible enough to adjust to new beliefs?
- Platform 2: The second part of the project is an archive concentrating on collecting images, sounds, various audio and video data from the region. It represents a virtual Museum of the Empire. People from the region or wider are invited to submit photographs, audio or video materials, via Internet. The sounds of this permanent collection could be of ethno or another origin, although they have to correspond to the cultural boundaries of the Empire. Should the conscience for the Empire expand, we will also do that with the geographical regions where the sounds and images are collected from.
- Platform 3: Alternative Artists from Macedonia will visit the main knots in the Empire, passing thus from Europe to Asia. The knots are signified by the main battles fought by Alexander: Issus,Tyre, Gaza, Gaugamela—Arbela, Susa, Persepolis. The artists will cover the topography with audio&video footage investigating the historical conscience of the local population by investigate how the local communities perceive the past. Welcome Back to the Empire is a paradigm for the concept of alternative history and its impact on culture and civilization in general. The project focuses on urging a structural change of interest towards the gray zones of conscience. This alternative history project aims towards elevating the level of perceiving the strange and shifts the accent to a more elaborated form of abstraction. This should result with a new aesthetic organization of narration leading towards a true virtual space. In the ideal expansion of the project Alternative historians, graphic designers, and scientists would meet for the first time with the goal of influencing and creating virtual environments. Bridging the gap between the alternative history and technology is one of the goals of this project. The key question with which I am dealing is how to create a highly realistic simulation, to increase the pace of exchange of information, and retain the interest for these kinds of projects, in spite of their complexity. I perceive this project as a meeting spot of artists, writers and technicians.
- Melentie Pandilovski (Macedonia). Born1963 in Skopje, Macedonia. Assistant Director since 1994 at Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Skopje, Macedonia. Solo Artistic Projects: 1987: Electronic Arts Solo Exhibition,Youth Cultural Center, Skopje, Macedonia; 1997: Welcome Back to the Empire, Alternate History Internet project. Member of Jury on International Exhibitions: August, 1995 VideoHart, Sofia, Bulgaria. Lectures at International Symposiums: November, 1995: Current issues in the Electronic Arts, How It All Began in Videoart and Cyberspace Symposium, Sofia, Bulgaria; March, 1996; Interactivity: Simultaneous Two-Mided Motion at the Symposium Interactivity: Fine-Arts Category, Skopje, Macedonia; September, 1996: Electronic Arts in Macedonia at the Media Art in Eastern Europe Symposium, during the NJ East Conference, Dutch Electronic Art Festival, Rotterdam, Holland. Art History Projects: Expressionism in Macedonia, supported by the Research Support Scheme of the Central European University, Prague, Czech Republic, 1993-1995. Curating Group Projects: Co-Curator: Icon on Silver/ikons na srebro, CD ROM project and Second Annual exhibition of the Soros Center for Contemporary Arts, Skopje, Macedonia, March,1996; Curator: Laika the True Story, Within the Frame of Refresh,Web Page Design Project of 20 International Centers, October 1996; Seeing the Sound, Interent project and Sound and Visual installation, by Bogdan Grabuloski and Violeta Blazeska, in the framework of Synthesis, 20th Century Music Festival, Youth Cultural Center, Skopje, Macedonia April 9,1997; SEAFair 97, Skopje Electronic Arts.