Special Issue on Virtual Heritage: Cultural Agents, Environments, and Objects is published!
Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, MIT PRESS
Guest Editor’s Introduction: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/PRES_e_00228#.V56OfpN940o
Virtual heritage – the use of digital technology and virtual environments for researching, conserving and conveying our cultural heritage, offers exciting new ways to learn and experience the cultural treasures of the world, both past and present.
Virtual heritage has its origin at the formation of the Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM) Society conference at Gifu, Japan in 1995, and can be attributed to many of the champions (Addison, 2000; Refsland, Ojika, Addison, & Stone, 2000; Stone & Ojika, 2000) of this particular strand of work. Since then, the heritage community has witnessed considerable investment from various institutions for heritage works that involve or are related to the use of digital technology, particularly with one of the larger funding bodies in Europe. Two notable projects totaling 10 million euros that has garnered wide media attention for their discoveries, including being selected as exhibits for the 2012 and 2015 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, bear witness to the importance of digital- and technology-oriented heritage projects. These two complex archaeological heritage projects with large spatial-temporal scales – Europe’s Lost World and the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project are pushing technological boundaries beyond what contemporary techniques can afford (see Ch’ng et al., 2011; Gaffney, Fitch, & Smith, 2009; Gaffney, Thomson, & Fitch, 2007). These are specimen works that has demonstrated that heritage could contribute to pioneering geophysics instrumentations, digital and computational approaches. Many other funded projects worldwide involving cutting-edge technologies overseen by a consortium of academic and heritage institutions are pioneers to the many digital heritage innovations today, the list of which is too numerous to be listed here. The support for heritage research has important meaning, as stated in the European Commission’s website: “Cultural heritage enriches the individual lives of citizens, is a driving force for the cultural and creative sectors, and plays a role in creating and enhancing Europe’s social capital. It is also an important resource for economic growth, employment and social cohesion, offering the potential to revitalise urban and rural areas and promote sustainable tourism.” (EC, 2015)… [continue reading]