Recreating the Past in Space and Sound

I visited Hunt Library tonight and experienced the results of the ongoing multi-phase project of North Carolina State University’s Communication department, called the The Virtual Martin Luther King project. There were over 40 of us at the gathering to experience the second phase of the project.

The project is led by Dr. Victoria Gallagher who introduced the project to the audience and then introduced those collaborating on the project. They are shown here with the projected web pages on the multiple screens around the room.

Virtual Martin Luther King Project people

The project – of recreating a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that was not recorded, that was given in a church that no longer stands – seems a curious and awesomely intricate effort to undertake. The mix of science and art, of historical fact and speculative creativity, is such a common theme in communication. The value of recreating a past form of communication and bringing it into the present to allow us to study it and to experience it in an immersive way certainly justifies the effort these professors and students are putting into it.

The small room in which we sat and experienced the re-created speech in all its subtlety and meaning was such a contrast to the larger lobby space of the Hunt Library, where there was no speech occurring, where there was plenty of white light, and where no action was being taken other than scholars studying the printed word.

Space and Light in Hunt Library

I look forward to attending the presentation at the end of the third phase when this auditory and visual experience will include the reproduction of a physical space in which to experience the speech. This was certainly and insightful experience for me.

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