Cybermaps in 3D heritage

A journal asked that I respond to a paper that briefly mentions the above. Notes to self include these general questions that I seldom find answers to in virtual heritage papers and not mentioned in my response (the journal has a strict word limit):

  1. Interpretation: It is very hard to extrapolate from VH papers how various interpretations are fostered.
  2. Beginnings: Where do you place a visitor in a virtual site?
  3. Dynamic alterity: How should or could they navigate time, space and interpretation?
  4. Art Versus Scientific Imagination: How should they separate artistic from current reality from interpreted virtuality? What if the artistry is impressive but speculative?
  5. Projects: Where can the projects (that apparently relate to the questions posed in the text), be experienced or otherwise accessed? How will they be preserved?
  6. Interactive Navigation: How do we navigate time, space, interpretation, and task/goal?
  7.  Authenticity, accuracy and artistry: How does one balance all three?
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Updated UK/France/QATAR itinerary

Still being planned (Newcastle is still a tbc):

The 3 talks:

UCL Qatar: (tbc), 20 or 21 November 2017:

Talk, workshop and debate on Historical narratives and digital spaces (place tbc)

Salford, 29 November 2017:

Rethinking Virtual Places

This talk will cover my recent thoughts on what is a virtual place and a virtual world, and why we seem to have shifting, even varying notions of virtual reality. For example, what are virtual environments and virtual museums? Do they open our minds up to the possibility of digital space and virtual culture? In my opinion, they typically fail to do so, virtual museums lack contestation and imagined defensive capacity, they are not cultural worlds.  Many philosophers and cultural studies thinkers have given us some hints as to cultural places, but not to virtual cultural places. And architects are also not as well placed as one might think, to design, critique and review virtual places.  Nor is it clear to many how we learn through virtual placeAugmented reality will begin to dominate virtual reality, and consumer-friendly component-based VR technology has great promise, but new and emerging devices displays and peripherals may have long-term detrimental cognitive, physical and social effects.

Research Digital Cultural Heritage conference, University of Manchester, 30 November-1 December 2017:

Inside Out: Avatars, Agents, Cultural Agents

If conveying cultural significance is a central aim of virtual heritage projects, can they convey cultural significance effectively without an understanding of the contextual role of cultural knowledge? In this talk I will argue this is very difficult, but even populating virtual environments with others (human-guided or computer-scripted), there are still vital, missing ingredients.

In virtual heritage projects with enough computational power and sophistication to feature intelligent agents, they are primarily used as guides (Bogdanovych et al. 2009). They lead players to important landmarks, or perhaps act as historical guides (revealing past events, conveying situationally appropriate behavior). Intelligent agents are usually designed for limited forms of conversation and typically help convey social presence rather than cultural presence. For an enhanced “sense of inhabited place”, engaging narrative- related elements, or embodiment, a cultural agent recognizes, adds to, or transmits physically embedded and embodied aspects of culture. They could provide a sense of cultural presence, becoming Aware-Of-Not-Quite-Being-‘There’.

Cultural agents would not be mere conversational agents if they were able to:

  1. Automatically select correct cultural behaviors given specific events or situations.
  2. Recognize in/correct cultural behaviors given specific events, locations, or situations.
  3. Transmit cultural knowledge.
  4. Modify, create, or command artifacts that become cultural knowledge.

To fulfil the above criteria, cultural agents would be culturally constrained. Not just socially constrained; their actions and beliefs would be dependent on role, space, and time. They could understand and point out right from wrong in terms of culturally specific behavior and understand the history and possibly also the future trajectory of specific cultural movements. In this talk I will discuss three scenarios for cultural agents, their relationship to roles and rituals, and two more missing ingredients. The result? A more situated, reflexive appreciation of cultural significance via virtual heritage.

 

Crafting the past-resources and chapter

http://www.digit2017.com/discover/

See esp http://www.digit2017.com/discover/crafting-the-past/resources-crafting-the-past/

I met Jeff Saunders last year at the Interactive pasts conference, he and Stephen Reid presented this

 Jeff Sanders & Stephen Reid (Dig It! 2015)

Crafting the Past

Last year, Dig It! 2015, a year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology, reached out to new audiences. One of the most popular initiatives came from a partnership with a games-based learning specialist known as ImmersiveMinds. The resulting and ongoing project, called ‘Crafting the Past’, uses Minecraft to bring archaeology to life by recreating real sites on a one-to-one scale, including a Pictish hillfort, 18th-century palladian mansion and Roman fortlet. Players take part in digital archaeological digs, explore heritage sites and even redevelop ruined buildings. Crafting the Past has support from the gaming community thanks to Multiplay, as well the archaeology community, with special thanks to the AOC Archaeology Group and a range of heritage organisations. This presentation will explore the lessons learned throughout the development, launch and management of this project and how unique partnerships can break down barriers in unexpected ways.

Their chapter (with Julianne McGraw) is free online

https://www.sidestone.com/books/the-interactive-past

  1. Crafting the Past: Unlocking new audiences
    Julianne McGraw, Stephen Reid & Jeff Sanders

Conference paper: Inside Out: Avatars, Agents, Cultural Agents

Paper accepted for Researching Digital Cultural Heritage – International Conference, Manchester UK, Dates: 30/11-1/12/2017 twitter #digheritage17

Keywords:Digitally enabled collaborative, participatory and reflexive approaches in cultural heritage design, research and practice.

If conveying cultural significance is a central aim of virtual heritage projects, can they convey cultural significance effectively without an understanding of the contextual role of cultural knowledge? In this talk I will argue this is very difficult, but even populating virtual environments with others (human-guided or computer-scripted), there are still vital, missing ingredients.

In virtual heritage projects with enough computational power and sophistication to feature intelligent agents, they are primarily used as guides (Bogdanovych et al. 2009). They lead players to important landmarks, or perhaps act as historical guides (revealing past events, conveying situationally appropriate behaviour). Intelligent agents are usually designed for limited forms of conversation and typically help convey social presence rather than cultural presence. For an enhanced “sense of inhabited place”, engaging narrative- related elements, or embodiment, a cultural agent recognizes, adds to, or transmits physically embedded and embodied aspects of culture. They could provide a sense of cultural presence, becoming Aware-Of-Not-Quite-Being-‘There’.

Cultural agents would not be mere conversational agents if they were able to:

  1. Automatically select correct cultural behaviours given specific events or situations.
  2. Recognize in/correct cultural behaviours given specific events, locations, or situations.
  3. Transmit cultural knowledge.
  4. Modify, create, or command artefacts that become cultural knowledge.

To fulfil the above criteria, cultural agents would be culturally constrained. Not just socially constrained; their actions and beliefs would be dependent on role, space, and time. They could understand and point out right from wrong in terms of culturally specific behaviour and understand the history and possibly also the future trajectory of specific cultural movements. In this talk I will discuss three scenarios for cultural agents, their relationship to roles and rituals, and two more missing ingredients. The result? A more situated, reflexive appreciation of cultural significance via virtual heritage.

Rough Outline on Architected Place

I am finishing a chapter (Chapter 3: ‘Architected’ Places) for my own book on Virtual Places, but the structural arc has escaped me until now. It will be polemical and controversial so I need to rewrite it to show that I realize this, there will be gaps and generalizations.

The basic premises are:

  1. Architectural theory is essentialist.
  2. Architectural tools are instrumentalist, architects don’t work on or near the site, as they need specialist tools connected to databases not to experiences.
  3. Architectural media is loath to include people and architectural spaces don’t work as places without people (Marseilles, by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, architectural masterpieces tend to be pavilions).
  4. Architects are not trained in user experience design and evaluation.
  5. Nor are architects trained in interactive media, their tools (see argument 2) are instrumentalist and passive.
  6. Traditional architectural craft is embodied, sited, takes time and records care. This is less and less the case.
  7. So applying theories of architecture, or practices of architectural design to interactive digital media in order to create virtual places, may well leave some gaps. How to resolve these in the design of virtual places? Corruption? Fancy theory? Post modernism? No, through embodiment, multimodality, role-play (and thematic affordances), allowing user-infill, environmental change to affect the design environment, and digital personalized patinas, materials that show the effect of time, wear and care.

 

new project 2: 3D and GIS

The following was a successful grant, funded by the Curtin Institute of Computation.

Title: Leveraging Low-Cost and Free Linked Open Data and Hybrid GIS/3D For Cultural Heritage Visualisation (6 months)

The program/research plan:

The two ECRs with the help of the two Curtin Professors will investigate the use of an application, possibly the Pelagios Framework (http://commons.pelagios.org/), an online portal that can combine maps, charts, documents, pictures and dynamic data, to create interactive visualisations and predictive cartographic analysis tools.

pelagios.pngFigure 1: Pelagios

This pilot study will explore whether the application can accept, display and dynamically link to 3D models and their subcomponents, using GIS Data so that maps and 3D models can be displayed and interacted with online. This specific application theoretically accepts simple 3D stl models but three.js and web3D models have not been investigated. Existing related examples: see http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/arc/mayagis.html

The two ECRS will derive a 3D model with GIS related data and design an online Pelagios Commons framework (or similar) for viewing a 3D model of a heritage site, preferably in Australia, that controls place elements in a side-located text document or an online map or chart and vice versa.

http://pleiades.stoa.org/ shows some of the possibilities of Linked Open Data, but not how 3D can interact with a LOD GIS platform.

Proposed engagement of external and community groups

  1. Firstly, we will collaborate with the following non-CIC staff at Curtin to develop the Curtin University workshop.
  2. Secondly we will invite members to test the prototype and provide feedback and potentially collaboration and grant opportunities.
  3. We will test the prototype with archaeologists, heritage specialists or architects in another Australian city. The longer-term aim is to engage them in applying for a linkage to design a more permanent and larger collection and online portal for a more highly featured, user-friendly and robust design.

For an interesting potentially related interface please see http://www.impa.br/opencms/en/