Cultural Data Sculpting

Cultural Data Sculpting is at the intersection of two dynamic phenomena, the ever-expanding heterogeneous digital archives, in conjunction with their visualization in immersive, interactive display systems. This course will engage novel approaches (with computational challenges) to creating innovative applications for visualizing and interacting with these cultural heritage archives.

This course is located at a new laboratory researching the forefront of experimentation in galleries, libraries, archives and museums (The Laboratory for Experimental Museology eM+). This lab contains large scale immersive, interactive virtual reality and augmented reality systems including a 360-degree 3D panoramic projection screen and a 4K fulldome. Students will have access to these state-of-the-art systems to design and build their applications. Emphasis is on the development of a new approach to digital cultural archives in these omnidirectional and hemispheric systems.

Students will have access to already existing digital cultural archives including structured and unstructured data. These include the CERN archives, a Leonardo Da Vinci image archive and a subset of the Montreaux Jazz Festival archive. Students will work together in small teams to focus on specific aspects of the application design and programming, culminating in an interactive installation.

Course structure

Week 1 (20 February): Introduction to Cultural Data Sculpting
Week 2 (27 February): Aura and authenticity in the age of digital reproduction
Week 3 (6 March): The Data! | Assignment 1 due
Week 4 (13 March): Technical tutorial # 1 | Assignment 2 due

Interlude (16 April opening): Dia-Logos opens at ZKM Karlsruhe - optional

Week 5 (20 March): Leonardo Da Vinci & fulldome
Week 6 (27 March): Origins of media art | Project design

Interlude (Easter) 

Week 7 (10 April): Project design I
Week 8 (17 April): Project design II
Week 9 (24 April): Tutorial:  Project development with Unity in HMD
Week 10 (1 May)Kung Fu Motion: A Living Archive | HCI & Audio design
Week 11 (8 May): Tutorial: Project development with Unity in HMD 
Week 12 (15 May): Conceptual project presentations | Integration Tutorial. Assignment 3 due
Week 13 (22 May): Integration
Week 14 (29 May): Presentation, evaluation, critique, next steps | Assignment 4 due

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Readings