Cultural heritage is important for historical research and education as well as establishing a sense of identity amongst communities. Through documenting the past, cultural heritage comes in both physical and intangible forms which include objects, monuments, beliefs, rituals and traditions.
Scan the World collects stories from people and museums alike, to share various views on the importance and impact of culture, helping diversify our personal approach to art. As different individuals will have very different experiences and values within their own culture, this network provides a safe space for culture to be shared and discovered, no matter where in the world it comes from.
What does a museum’s collection, a public sculpture or even a building mean to those who are partially sighted or blind? The traditionally enforced museum rule of ‘Do not touch’ makes accessing culture close to impossible for people who have visual impairments. Scan the World creates accurate representations of these objects with intricate detail through cost effective production which, in turn, provides someone with the incredible experience of touching and engaging with the artefacts.
Similarly, for someone living in Australia wanting to explore the museum’s collection, the virtual archive not only allows people to ‘visit’ a collection wherever they are, but also to print it.
The content scanned from numerous institutions can bring international collections together in one place for someone to explore at the comfort of their own home. Often, if they exist, museums will not have 3D data of their artefacts available to access or download for the public. With Scan the World, however, there are many objects that have been scanned and printed that can be viewed in its 3D platform or in its physical form, creating stimulated interaction and understanding of the craft involved.
Many educational institutions are starting to think about how 3D technology can be useful for their students and there is added pressure to implement it into the school’s curriculum. Scan the World provides a platform for people to learn about the technology, from generating a digital representation of a scene or object (photography and photogrammetry software), to the manipulation of it (zBrush/modelling software) and the output of 3D printing.
Additionally, it teaches people about artefacts in ways which are interesting and interactive. Having access to its physical form and 3D virtual model makes it easier to understand what the artist is trying to portray and how they have achieved this by being able to move and touch it to study the transitions of space, angles and light.
Damage or complete demolition of cultural sites can result in many consequences that would be detrimental for the community and the wider knowledge that has been gained. Not only would the documentation of the past be affected, but also the identities and significance of these that have formed from them. It is also likely that the loss could impact the economic benefits that the heritage site or monument can produce for the community it is in. This threat has become increasingly apparent in recent times with environmental changes and human conflicts across the globe.
Scan the World’s intention is to simply preserve endangered cultural heritage by digitally producing facsimiles of these objects which in turn create valuable records of culture and history. 3D technology can be used as a means of restoration, using the data sets from the same sculptor or trends of the time to rebuild broken artefacts. Similarly, if the artefact has been completely destroyed, an entire copy can be made using the 3D data that has been collected from the original. As a result, potential risk of damage and destruction are mitigated.