Six months ago I wrote another blog about Authenticity and Technology (view here). Part of my impulse was reading Colin Ellard and part was the threat to Alamo Plaza from those who think it should look only like 1836.
I wrote even earlier last year about how technology today can visualize history in three dimensions without the need for reconstruction. I touted virtual reality and mentioned augmented reality, but two weeks ago I finally saw it in a form more nuanced than Pokemon Go. I was at the University of Notre Dame architecture library and Special Collections head Jennifer Gardner showed me some nice 15th and 16th century architectural treatises. This is what we expect of special collections.
And then she jumped ahead six centuries and showed me a piece of paper with a plan of the Roman Colosseum on it. (Yes, I know it is really the Flavian Ampitheater).
Then she held a tablet device above it with augmented reality turned on, and there the three-dimensional Colosseum was. You could move around it as it stood up from plan into building, still allowing a view to regular things in the room beyond.
They had also been working (in their spare time) on apps that would allow you to walk around the city of South Bend and with your personal device see the historic streetscapes that were there before. Here we are, folks. You can carve some barcodes into the sidewalk and reconstruct an infinite number of buildings without renting a crane or hiring a masonry firm. And you can change it when you get better information.
And you don’t have to lop off the campanulate roofline of the Alamo church either, especially now that the state has it copyrighted.
Turns out the future is very, very good for the past.
IT IS HERE! April 2018 Update!
My friend Leslie Komet Ausburn saw this post and showed me what her firm, Alamo Reality, was up to – Turns out we have AR for the Alamo battle! Not only that, but today – April 17, 2018, Alamo Reality was in front of the Alamo showing the latest version of their AR for the site and…
It. Is. Stunning. You step through a portal and there is the battle in three dimensions, revealed as you move, with today’s sky behind. You can step back into the present. Two important takeaways: 1. This will be the only type of interpretation that newer generations will use. 2. You don’t have to change the fabric in any way – you can rebuild the virtual buildingscape when new information becomes available. Mistakes no longer have to be literally set in stone.