“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 Nave at Saint George Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts

Saint George Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts is a new addition to the Sacred Spaces of New England project. Organized in 1908, Saint George Cathedral is the first Albanian Orthodox Church in the United States and the largest Orthodox Christian house of worship in the state of Massachusetts.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Saint George Cathedral’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.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Cathedral of Saint Paul, Worcester, Massachusetts

The Cathedral of Saint Paul of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Founded in 1869, the Cathedral of Saint Paul has served as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester since 1950, when the Diocese was established in the city.

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

Panorama of the Sanctuary at First Unitarian Church, Worcester, Massachusetts

First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Gathered in 1785, the First Unitarian Church was formed by a group of 54 “free thinkers” who left Worcester-based First Parish Church under the leadership of their pastor, Dr. Aaron Bancroft, in a quest to celebrate freedom of belief and religious expression that would help define Unitarian doctrine in the United States.

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

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Church of the Redeemer UCC, New Haven, Connecticut

Church of the Redeemer UCC of New Haven, Connecticut is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Organized in 1838, Church of the Redeemer, United Church of Christ is the fourth congregational church in New Haven. Originally named Chapel Street Congregational Church, it was formed after there was dissent at the Third Congregational Church when a new minister would not accept the “New Haven Theology” of Nathaniel Taylor who founded the church. Taylor rejected the idea of determinism in which God alone was responsible for all activities in the universe, as he felt this was immoral because it contradicted the notions of freedom and choice, and thought God not immoral.

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

New Cardboard App Release: Jazeera Al Hamra VR

JAH_Feature_Graphic_Web

Please check out my new Google Cardboard app entitled, Jazeera Al Hamra VR for Android mobile devices.

It is a free Google Cardboard app of the architecture of Al Jazeera Al Hamra, a former coastal village in southern Ras Al Khaimah that was abandoned at the time of the formation of the United Arab Emirates in the late 1960s and 1970s. It is considered one of the last traditional towns in the country.

Featured in version 1.0 of the Jazeera Al Hamra VR app are 360-degree VR (virtual reality) panoramic images that were captured between 2009 and 2011 of the hisn (fort) and three courtyard homes.

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. Here’s the link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.seththompson.JazeeraAlHamraVR.