Sunday, December 15, 2013

Final Presentation : R2S

A S H W A T I   T E R E S A   J O S E P H
A Section of Digital Prosthetics : Receptacle for the Renounced Structures

R2S Receptacle for Renounced Structures from Ash Joseph on Vimeo.

  R 2 S   T h e s i s

Man's fight against time and decay, an inevitable thought of which the solution itself is brought by architecture. Something built becoming permanent. But this function of architecture preserving itself is yet attacked by nature's calamities and perpetual rhythm. Time never stops its duty of playing the role as the  Decaying or Preserving Master. In order to capture these decaying elements, it is necessary to invent something permanent that would embed in the history of mankind for the future generations.

Humans are obsessed with preserving structure. The result of this preoccupying thought of conserving and maintaining has caused an effect of constructing structures, erecting foundations and establishing boundaries between cultures. Since centuries as the permanent buildings itself are deteriorating at a large rate, these structures modify in reaction to Time. The UNESCO, an existing global organization already however provides preserving heritages after its 10 passing of criteria. Exceptional, outstanding, testimonial these are their tags of passing; as a result, some are left out. An excuse would be that they do not represent as the highest achievable masterpiece in human/natural history that serves as an exceptional testimony. 

R2S Virtual Debate from Ash Joseph on Vimeo.

Therefore an institution is called for that guarantees to store all that is historically essential to future generations. Verifying identity, the user enters an existing ruin, chooses his interested part that guides him to the connected issue witnessing the networks. Further involving in simultaneous discussions and debates the user casts his opinion in the R2S resulting in activating the structure's nomination. Crowd sourcing plays a huge role that may take one to interact with higher authorities regarding the issue. Thus providing a democratic way of preserving structures at its full to be easily conveyed virtually to other individuals who are not able to experience the real site. A library of data composed of particularly exposed, unenclosed, unprotected, decaying ruins.The team of innovators would work on establishing a virtual world embodying the experience of immersive environment dealing with : virtual perceptions and virtual feeling.

In terms of virtual perception, as  'matters of fact', the most outstanding, most worthy, most notable stands out globally. As 'matters of concern', they do too. In this case the purple green colored orchid being an uncommon sight for me as an outsider in the Flower Market. And at some point, something so ordinary as a Buddha's fallen head stuck in a Bodhi tree could be 'Matters of Nothing'.One such example of a fact  could be the Saweta Chatra Throne, a powerful monarch communication tool used to signify absolute power through an ornate throne. The Barcelona chair compared to the previous throne becomes as Matters of concern which at first acting as a status symbol later loses its value perhaps, because of mass production.

 Hierarchy, nomination, order, axis, framing were some terms associated in analysing these things.Diving more into a research phase, Ayuthaya as a site is chosen to evaluate the importance of nomination. The reason being already preserved by the UNESCO due to its contribution in rich history and Thai architecture. Currently, Wat Mahathat that contained the Buddhas relics, in the past being the most holy and religious site is placed in an east west axis. Most highest structure at a before 50 meters that time, nomination of religion plays a part within the ruling of a city.

Who decides this tag of nomination that has been followed since centuries? Pre-conceived perception does this. During my journey through the Pak Klong Talat where all flowers had the same potential of selling, it was my personal curiosity that played in judging what is important? As a fact, Latour mentions as how things fade away when appearing in mass resulting in a texture whereas the same thing individually would act as an image memory. Here the orchid stands out to me which is not in mass quantity unlike the other flowers.

The pavilion titled 'Renascita Di Valore' is an attempt to question this perception of how things are seemingly valuable but at the same time not, through a medium of filtering planes within a grid system. The user is required to enter this Virtual Pavilion and accordingly comparing the Saweta Chatra Throne and Barcelona Chair in a series of sequence that question  which personally stands out due to virtual perception. The grids provide a y-axis of time and x-axis of nomination.

Here,  Ayuthaya as an already preserved site passes for all the nomination rules given by UNESCO World Heritage. The challenge however is to question about those ruins which are unenclosed, open to major destruction, not protected just because they lack the tag of nomination given globally.The Receptacle for Renounced Structures or R2S platform would therefore make a space specifically for these ruins that do not qualify as World Heritages. Due to political, economical, social or religious concerns they are excluded. R2S having its own technology of V-Eye and V-Glove would enhance the virtual feeling of the structure. Acting as a 3D preservation space R2S would grant the qualification of protection resulting from polling of votes and opinions from a connected network of people around the globe. Even though if the site won't be nominated to that extent, the virtual space still allows it to be preserved permanently by 3D mapping technologyVirtually Preserved in Time !

R2S Virtual Tools for Interaction

The Virtual Eye Wear, received upon entering Wat Mahathat allows for scanning of the fingerprints of the individual in order for further accurate interaction depending on which finger is used within the R2S environment. The v-eye, similar looking to a pair of goggles consists of high sensitive embedded scanner on the surface exterior glass. The V-Eye also contains a GPS Tracker, located at the center. The tracker ensures the position of the user movement along the R2S Interface, this movement is later added on to the system of networks that convey data graphics to the upcoming participants. The surface glass is curved allowing a maximum  180 degree visible accessibility of the R2S space giving a panoramic view to the user. The heavy Glass surface is held by a  transparent holder( to avoid blocking maximum view) as well as a supporting plastic frame for maximum support. The V-eye enables the participant in the R2S interface to view the space virtually combined with real environment of Wat Mahathat.

R2S Tool : V-Eye from Ash Joseph on Vimeo.

V-Glove (Single Hand)
Along with the V-Eye, combined with V-Glove allows for enhanced experience in an immersive environment. The glove is sensitive to the touch followed by three main fingers :
- Index finger = Switch to Real Environment (Wat Mahathat) or other choosing options
- Middle finger = To join Debate or Discussions
- Ring finger = Casting Opinions/Polling of Votes
Participant should make sure that the V-Glove is always contained within the scanning vision of the V-Eye or else the tracking of hand movements and interaction with V-Glove are unable to recognize. The moment the individual's fingers are scanned in through the V-Eye, the fingerprints are stored within the database to relate with the further decisions made by the user.Each Tip of the glove contains a touch sensor that informs the R2S of what has to be displayed accordingly.

R2S Tool : V-Glove from Ash Joseph on Vimeo.

R2S Architectural Interface

Isometric of  R2S Space

Criteria for Selection of Structures:
1. Structures entered are to be man-made or man-made combined with natural environment, hence crowd sourcing acting as the major input.
2. R2S institution focuses on decaying, exposed, unenclosed, unprotected ruins.
3. Any nation, organization, community, state, region, group (2 or more) can enter their desired structure.
3. The result of these structures to enter the network permanently is ultimately dependent on the participating people to decide.
4.Judgement is made by analyzing opinions, majority votes related on issue.
5. In the end, R2S institution would guarantee protection of the structure from its fund.
6. All passing structures are however mapped digitally to form a place within networks.

Isometric Taxonomy created for classification of entered sites within the R2S Interface

Initial Research Phase How the R2S Works?

Khao Phreah Wihan, a ruin located exactly on the overlapping borders of Cambodia and Thailand was an interesting start as to the related political and social  issues developed. An ancient hindu temple built during the Khmer empire.  Situated atop a cliff named Dangrek Mountains, this temple resulted in a long called dispute between two countries of Thailand and Cambodia on an international level. Recently claimed as a World Heritage site, now the Khao Phreah Wihan belongs to Cambodia, last judgement taken by the International High Court of Justice.

Khao Phreah Wihan : Already nominated site by UNESCO
Following diagram depicts how this issue of "the temple belongs to whom?" would have worked out given the architectural interface of R2S.

Stage 1: The Visitor enters Wat Mahathat with his identity verified and witnessing the networks and grid system of R2S that are already activated by other users present on the site. Later, the user chooses an interesting part of the Mahathat ruin, the buddha statue which happens to be influenced by Khmer architecure. This "Khmer" influence acts as the common link between the visitor's interest and the contained issue within the R2S Space that leads him , in this case to the"Khao Phreah Wihan", dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

Stage 2 : After having the visitor brought into this issue, the visitor if not interested in the issue may wish to choose to exit the interface by using the index finger via the V-Glove. Or else may continue on with briefing of the issue shown in virtual graphics and motions. The history of the Issue is laid out (shown in different colored boxes) :
1978 - Cambodian Refugees Expulsion
2008 - Military Dispute
2008 - Ownership Dispute
These related history gives the user the clue of what is currently occurring about the existing ruin. This is the point where the user has already chosen the issue, and the related ruin would overlap on the Wat Mahathat ruin allowing the user to compare and contrast between the two ruins given.Later on, further research on issue regarding the common key word "Khmer Empire" is brought in, since this was the key to the participant's start of interest. How Khmer relates to this issue is signified at the end of Stage 2.

Khao Phreah Wihan : If it worked within the R2S Interface
Stage 3 :  User is shown the current issues and news by virtual planes that helps to decide in casting his later opinion. After analyzing the given terms and state of situation surrounding the issue, the user may cast his opinion or poll his vote regarding on the ownership dispute. This is critical, since the answer is directly resulted in the nomination of the Khao Phreah Wiharn Ruin Issue. This one individuals poll or vote may result in drastic change of the Ruin's Position within the R2S Networks. 

After the polling, The user can either exit or enter a current debate/discussion thereby allowing interaction with virtual people who are not physically present in the site. Further this debate/discussion is recorded as a date that can be accessed by any type of social media including facebook,twitter,google +, etc. 

Stage 4 : The user is free to witness higher authorities involved in the matter, be it politically or socially. Direct interaction is guaranteed dependent on the participant's interest in the issue. Witnessing of Political meetings are made possible publicly making it a democratic way of viewing the issue. System being more transparent and not held within the bounds of law/authority.

Stage 5 : The issue having developed to be taken action by the ICJ (international Court of Justice) continues according to news, at this point the user may/may not be involved as recognized member from the R2S Interface to get involved with the higher powers. This is the most highest point where the R2S is granted authority based on a  democratic crowd supportive way.
At the end based on the most discussed issue or failure to end up in an un-recognized ruin the R2S  would eventually permanently map the ruins using 3d Mapping Technology and the ruin would be virtually preserved inTime within the R2S.

Further Research Phase : Renounced Structures around the Globe

1. Ruins of Ani : An Armenian City-state situated in the Turkish Province of Kars. Having a History of various trade routes and known for its famous religious buildings(churches,mosques), palaces, fortifications. Ani stood out as one  among the  technologically and artistically advanced structures in the world. After the earthquake of 1319, Ani was a forgotten city state (known for its glory) and resulted in abandonment.

2. Negev Mosque : Undergone many change in its physical use, the mosque located in Israel, currently serves as a call center employing many Muslim women (among the Bedouin Community) to work and re-inforce support for the females in the Muslim society.

3. Gol Gumbaz : Located in Karnataka, India this mausoleum is of Mohammad Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur. Influenced by Deccan architecture, the structure has simplistic dome deisgn. Vistied by many locals, this mausoleum is not yet declalred as a Heirtage site.

4. Naqshe-E-Rustam : A Necropolis, in Persepolis. Contains many mural carvings depicting old history and habitation. aqshe-E-Rustam contains many tombs and oversized rocks. However now severely damaged and victim of lot of excavations.

5. Salona City : An Ancient city located now in Croatia. Influenced by then Roman Architecture under their rule, Salona city possesses many characteristics such like public baths, amphitheaters, aqueducts, forum, roman walls, etc. Highly saturated with christian architecture, the reason of many big churches, baptisteries, basilicas, this city was destroyed largely during the invasion of Avars and Slavs during the 4th and 5th century. Now this site serves as a major study site for Christian religious architecture.

6. Caesarea City : A Town located between Tel Aviv and Haifa in Israel.Served in the past as an administrative center of Judaea Province(Roman Empire) built by Herod the Great. Abandonment followed by the Arab Conquest and later by Mamluk conquest.
7. Jama Masjid : Principle mosque in Delhi, India. Houses several relics and currently active as a mosque for a capacity of 25,000 worshipers. Built by the same king Shahjahan  who built the Taj Mahal and Red Fort(delhi). Associated issue being 2006 explosions within the mosque making 13 people in total injured.


8. Arabian Oryx Sanctuary : Listed since 1994 as a world heritage, this was the first to be removed from the Heritage list in 2007.The major issue concerned was the discovery of oil within the site that lead to poaching and habitat degradation of the wild animals(reducing sacntaury by 90% by the government). The government later willingly agreeing to its de-listing.

9. Dresden Elbe Valley : Listed in 2006 By UNESCO, located in Dresden, Germany. The controversial bridge construction led to its de-nomination from the Heritage List of UNESCO. UNESCO waited till 2008 to see whether the construction ceases, and later de-listed it in 2009.

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