The Opportunities of the New World
Seven years ago Taliban militia in Afghanistan destroyed the two largest statues of the standing Buddha in the world. The Bamiyan Buddhas were sacred objects that formed part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage. Some three years ago the so-called IS destroyed over one hundred cultural sites in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Other ancient buildings have fallen into ruin over the centuries without any malicious intent by third parties. Hardly a single masterwork from the ancient world can be now admired in its former glory – up to present, that is. When our New World has put undreamt of opportunities at our disposal …
VR, AR and other new high tech (OR and the like)
The Buddha statues were reconstructed in their full size using 3D printing technology. Yet another technology makes it possible for you, me and those who come after us to see the ancient cultural sites in a totally new manner – in GIF animations! With new technologies we can view the most famous buildings in the history of the world stone by stone and pillar by pillar. The original structures have been awoken to new life even though in some cases hardly any basis for reconstruction could be found. And lo and behold many of the buildings appear quite different to what history has taught us to think.
Augmented reality (AR) really can give us the opportunity to admire the ancient ruins in their former splendour on our smartphones! I think this is an awesome development! Probably many of us are still not fully aware of what amazing new opportunities 3D printers, virtual reality (VR) and other new high tech offer us. But what is certain is that the New World doesn’t just create new things but also brings the old world back to life.
The old gasworks in Pforzheim, for instance, will be hosting the exhibition ROME 312 up to the end of the year. The world’s biggest 360 degree panorama gives you an in-depth view how the ancient world’s most splendid capital must have been in the year 312 AD.
Researchers are now equipped with 360 degree cameras which they take on their expeditions, bringing back breath-taking views and clips the like of which we’ve never seen before. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Clockwork Ocean project? The findings of the expedition around the eddies in the ocean were captured in a panoramic film experience that makes the highly complex but deeply fascinating subject matter understandable to non-experts, entertaining and utterly compelling. In this case the technology of the New World takes us on a trip through the astonishing depths and vistas of the living ocean.
Synergies for eternity
Now there are certainly people who are relatively indifferent to the monuments of the ancient world and who can get along perfectly well without a pulse-racing immersive trip through the ocean. “What’s this got to do with me?” they might well ask themselves or more pointedly “Who cares?”
Obviously the past is over and done with in the sense that it cannot be repeated. And yet I am convinced that the past isn’t over and done with in the sense that the past constantly exerts its influence over our present. Past and present are fused and blended with one another in synergies. It is this interconnection that allows us to build on the discoveries and knowledge of our ancestors, use them and continue to extend our present-day body of knowledge. It was the ancient Greeks who more than 2,000 years ago first discovered the Golden Ratio, aesthetic proportions, basic mathematical formulae and even regularity of movement among heavenly bodies – all of which is knowledge we are still using today. I think that such achievements by our ancestors deserve respect! The past deserves respect!
Still so many undiscovered worlds
The GIFs of world-famous cultural sites are just one small example which shows how much more is out there waiting to be discovered. We can and we should use these opportunities to continue to educate ourselves and to grow – because we should not stand still. I am delighted to be living in times of such progress and I hope that I yet may discover a little bit more of our world.
PS: If you haven’t seen these GIFs, please take a look here: http://www.openculture.com/2018/04/watch-seven-ancient-ruins-get-restored-to-their-glorious-original-state-with-animated-gifs.html