Fourth dimension


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This pilot project, inspired by a collection data management developed for a museum in Rotterdam, has been developed at crdav, the Research & Documentation Centre for Visual Arts of Rome's Cultural Heritage Department. It was used as a basis for a presentation at CDCH 2012, a Satellite Workshop of IEEE's Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing in Innsbruck, Austria (30 September - 4 October 2012).

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Fourth dimension

  1. 1. “Fourth Dimension” Planning A Prototype (*) “Like city lights, receding.” [ W. Gibson, Neuromancer (1984) ]Turn on the black, wide screen and the city’s contour appears, grey on black. Insert a date – return.A new image takes form, showing a draft of the city map in the requested year. Zoom in on themap, reducing the portion shown on the screen. Right, left, forward, backward – move with thejoystick on different portions of the map, the blocks in grey, squares, roads and derelict areas inblack. Click on the button – we switch to diachronic mode. Forward, backward: the area on thescreen changes its form. It shows how boundaries changed, how buildings appear and disappearthrough time. New roads appear, the city’s texture follows their development. Click again on thejoystick – we are back to spatial mode. I can again zoom in and out, focusing on different details ofthe new map.At the keyboard I can choose an option. Municipal cultural heritage, for instance, or: museums,monuments, events. Add another option, then a third one. Suddenly, differently coloured lightsappear on the grey city map. Blue, red, orange, white, green… Different keywords, and theirpresence in time and space. Another click on the joystick – back to diachronic mode: going backand forth through time, lights suddenly appear and disappear at once. Here’s a cloud of lights: thesites of an Estate Romana, maybe, or the Nuit Blanche events, or other different, relevant locations.Focus on a smaller area, choose a single light. A windows opens up on one side of the screen:pictures, graphics, sounds, videos, and texts describe the event, at the site and time thus identified. Ican click on further leading links, I can choose to get in-depth information. I can close the windowswith a click of the joystick, browsing again through time and space, through the cyber mapencompassing the cultural life of the city, the memory of its locations. No black Ice lurking arounda bend, in this cyber city, nor are there any metaphoric Caves of Steel. Some data, though arerestricted – this may now and again be needed – and fully readable only to some of the user profilesconnecting to the system. by Alessandro Califano, 10.12.2007- - - - - - - -(*) This pilot project has been presented and discussed by the author on 4 October 2012 at CDCH2012 – Creative Design for Interdisciplinary Projects in Cultural Heritage – , a Satellite Workshopof VL/HCC, IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, Innsbruck –Austria (30 September – 4 October 2012)