Composer, poet and Byzantine abbess Kassia is considered to be the first European composer whose work is preserved to this day and plays an important role in European (music) history. She was born in Constantinople in 810 and was a mysterious person, not only in terms of her musical oeuvre. In fact, she was also a writer of astounding radicality who not only created sacred poetry but also secular texts of which more than 250 still exist in the form of epigrams. Finally, Kassia was also a political figure who dared to use her rhetoric skills to confront emperor Theophilos when he was looking for a bride.
Kassia serves as an early feminist and cosmopolitan role model. Her work was used as a starting point by Kainkollektiv and various other artists, scientists and institutions from Germany, Poland and Turkey to create a multidimensional and multilayered project comprising the opera performance KASSIA and the (digital) KASSIA conference.
Now, the KASSIA online exhibition/the KASSIA archive is emerging and aims at making all the project parts visible and interactively connected. The website will digitally review and collect the contents from past conferences and create novel approaches to the history of feminism. For the opera performance, an interactive installation was created, which invited visitors to adorn themselves with digital opera masks in AR. In combination with a self-written statement, users were able to include themselves in the gallery and thereby become part of the movement. This and other participative approaches will be available in the online archive and provide new perspectives on the topic. Moreover, the highly branched collaboration with artists and collectives from numerous countries who create a multi-perspective access leads to a broad insight into the topic of female empowerment.
While walking through the digital monastery, the website users are constantly accompanied by Kassia. For this purpose, a digital representation of the Byzantine nun was created and brought to life via motion-captured recordings of dancers from the opera ensemble.