Mind the gap: virtual reality and theatre history
Authors: Beacham, Richard; Baker, Drew; Blazeby, Martin
Source: Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Volume 27, Number 3, September 2002 , pp. 230-240(11)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This paper reviews some findings of the Pompey Project, an AHRB funded virtual reality (VR) based theatre historical project conducted by an international team led by the University of Warwick. It begins by examining methodological questions, and then publishes here for the first time some significant findings demonstrating how VR enhanced analysis reveals major hitherto unnoticed flaws in prior 2D archaeologically based reconstructions. Following this, an account of the project's reconstruction of the temple-theatre complex at Gabii outlines how this provided an important test of the extent to which the application of Vitruvian formulae gives a viable methodology for reconstructing pre-Principate theatre architecture. Finally, the article discusses the project's own ab initio reconstruction of the Theatre of Pompey, which combines the use of prior 2D hypotheses, old and new archaeological data, and Vitruvian principles. These three studies are framed by an assessment of how the apparently positivist project of reconstruction, which seems to deal with 'hard facts', can be informed by historiographical considerations, in particular by stressing the primacy of interpretation for both creators and viewers of VR objects.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2002-09-01