Monday, June 11, 2007

Rome Reborn 1.0, Life 2.0?

At the University of Virginia they are rebuilding Ancient Rome, a daunting task, only ten years in the making. Once complete and fully accessible, will this virtual city really become the eternal city reborn? Mankind has always tried to capture the past and present in maps, models, and restoring the physicality of our cultural landmarks. Will we even be able to preserve these copies or will we continuously re-create them with virtual history itself?

This latest incarnation seems to be a growing part of our collaborative virtual "
Second Life" culture which includes real life views via Geotagging, Google's Earth and Street View (when do I get my VR Google Goggles?). One day, will all major civilizations be mapped and rebuilt virtually and will we be able to visit them or maybe actually live in a Life 2.0? or would that be Life 3.0 or Death 1.0?

Can we even
save our modern and ancient monuments? In places like Machu Picchu (or Europe for that matter), increased tourist popularity could end in severe degradation of the experience, not to mention how future global changes will very likely, drastically alter or submerge some sites even cities. How many of these are worth saving, what is their individual and collective worth, and for how long should they be physically preserved or restored? Do we build civilization around or on top of this past?

How well will this second version of life imitate art and will this art be our version 2.0?

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