New Cardboard App Release: First Presbyterian Church VR

First Presbyterian Church VR is a Google Cardboard app presenting the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford, Connecticut. A recording of the musical composition, “Coventry Carol” performed by the New York Symphonic Brass with James D. Wetherald on organ accompanies this 360-degree immersive experience.

Founded in 1854, the First Presbyterian Church commissioned noted architect Wallace K. Harrison in 1953 to design its present structure. Harrison was both a contributing architect and coordinator of such major public buildings as the United Nations, Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center. The structure, which was completed in 1958, is thought to be one of the finest examples of religious modern architecture along with those designed by Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright. Its reinforced concrete and stained glass walls are formed from more than 20,000 individual chunks of inch-thick glass – a stained glass technique called “dalle de verre.” The stained glass design on the right side of the church’s sanctuary suggests the story of the crucifixion and on the left, the story of the resurrection. The stained glass in the narthex or rear of the church displays symbols of communion and peace. Although not intentional, the church’s sanctuary has been likened to the form of a fish in both profile and floor plan – a symbol used in early Christianity.

For those who are new to Google Cardboard, it is a virtual reality platform that uses a relatively low-cost cardboard or plastic viewer in conjunction with a mobile phone device to create an immersive experience.

This app works with Google Cardboard and most Android mobile phone devices. To download the app, go to: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.seththompson.FirstPresbyterianChurchVR

For more information about the Sacred Spaces of New England project, please visit: http://sacredspacesofnewengland.seththompson.info.

Panorama of the Nave at Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts

Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Established in 1914, Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral is a center for spiritual worship to over 6,000 people in the Worcester area.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Meeting Room at the Saylesville Meetinghouse in Lincoln, Rhode Island

The Saylesville Meetinghouse in Lincoln, Rhode Island is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Built in 1704 and expanded in 1745, the Saylesville Meetinghouse has been in continuous use as a gathering place for the Quakers for over 300 years.

If you would like to learn more about the meetinghouse, please visit the Saylesville Meetinghouse’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Nave at St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, Massachusetts

St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Officially formed on October 23, 1960, St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church grew out of a need to serve the growing Greek Orthodox population in the southern and western parts of Boston.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Trinity United Methodist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts

Trinity United Methodist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. With roots dating back to 1791, Trinity United Methodist Church considers itself a “Community Cathedral” dedicated to worship, learning and recreation.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Trinity United Methodist Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

“Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-Presentations of Versailles” Essay Published

Detail of John Vanderlyn’s Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, 1819 (top) and Detail of Google World Wonders Project (Palace and Park of Versailles), 2012 (bottom). Image capture: Seth Thompson.

Detail of John Vanderlyn’s Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, 1819 (top) and Detail of Google World Wonders Project (Palace and Park of Versailles), 2012 (bottom). Image capture: Seth Thompson.

My essay entitled, “Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-Presentations of Versailles” has recently been published in Streetnotes: Ethnography, Poetry and the Documentary Experience (Volume 25).

For an overview, here’s the journal article’s abstract:

By comparing and contrasting two panoramic projects of Versailles, one being a painted panorama by John Vanderlyn (1775-1852) completed in 1819 and the other, part of Google’s World Wonders Project launched in 2012, this paper will examine the notion of heritage as a tangible entity, experiential consumable, and identity maker, and show how heritage sites and the panorama (both painted and digital) act as a spectacle that seeks to fulfill the needs and desires of its visitors to consume past and present cultural landscapes.

If you would like to read the essay, please visit:
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/339598d3

Thompson, Seth. 2016. “Cultural Heritage and Spectacle: Painted and Digital Panoramic Re-
Presentations of Versailles.” Streetnotes: Ethnography, Poetry and the Documentary Experience (Volume 25): 353-365. url: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/339598d3. Published Online: November 3, 2016.

Lecture at the 25th International Panorama Council Conference: “VR Panoramic Photography and Perspective Projection Systems: Drawing from the Panorama’s Past”

Recently, I presented my paper entitled,”VR Panoramic Photography and Perspective Projection Systems: Drawing from the Panorama’s Past” at the 25th International Panorama Council Conference in Ópusztaszer, Hungary, September 28-30, 2016.

Below is the paper’s abstract:

VR (virtual reality) panoramic photography is the science, art and practice of creating interactive and navigable immersive 360-degree screen-based images, which usually depict a place and/or event. The notion of immersion has a long history in art and architecture, which is inextricably linked to vr panoramic photography. The fundamentals of perspective, both linear and curvilinear, are an important component in understanding the projection systems used in developing digital immersive panoramic environments—moving from the rendering of an illusion of space in the analog world to digital immersive image spaces. By using perspective projection examples from the history of art as well as diagrams, this paper will attempt to explain the commonalities and differences between linear and curvilinear perspective, and show how this knowledge contributes to the understanding and display of vr panoramic photography’s digital immersive image spaces.

If you would like to download the conference program, please go to:
http://panoramacouncil.org/pics/files/documents/25th_conference_program2.pdf

Keywords: VR Panoramic Photography, Immersive Image Spaces, Perspective Projection Systems

Panorama of the Meeting Room at Providence Friends Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island

Providence Friends Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. While Quakers do not believe that meeting for worship necessarily requires a special place, Providence Monthly Meeting was established in 1718 and due to the growth of the Quaker community in the area, a meeting house was established. Its current building, completed in 1953, reflects the philosophy of a Quaker Meeting House with its absence of liturgical symbols and simplicity of design.

If you would like to learn more about the meeting house, please visit the Providence Meeting’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Prayer Hall at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts

The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Founded in 2009, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center is a mosque and community center located in the heart of Roxbury.

If you would like to learn more about this mosque and cultural center, please visit the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Cathedral Church of St. Luke, Portland, Maine

The Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland, Maine is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Formed in 1851, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke was chosen to be the cathedral church for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine in 1866. Its current structure, built in the Gothic Revival style, was designed by Charles Coolidge Haight and completed in 1868.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Cathedral Church of St. Luke’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.