*Note: To view any of the scenography models in full screen: click on MORE in the top navigation panel of each model and then click on VIEW IN SKETCHFAB. This will allow you to orbit in the first person (click on the little icon that looks like an eye) and zoom in to the model.

Introduction to Paradata Posts

This is the first of a series of paradata posts on the modelling processes for the Queen’s Theatre (QT). Before describing the different visualisations in this project, I will briefly explain the importance of documenting the visualisation process for virtual cultural heritage projects. For more detailed discussions on intellectual transparency with regards to visualisations in academic practices, consult the texts in the Further Reading section below.

Visualisations can (intentionally or unintentionally) mislead the viewer. Because the use of computer-based visualisation as an academic method (as we understand it) is a relatively recent development, it can be difficult to represent uncertainty about the reliability of sources within the visualisations themselves. It is for this reason that Drew Baker in “Defining Paradata in Heritage Visualization” and Jeffrey T. Clark in “The Fallacy of Reconstruction” argue against the application of the term “reconstruction” to visualisations of artefacts. Especially for digital replicas of artefacts and buildings that have been destroyed, like the Queen’s Theatre, it is not possible to “recreate” the object with complete accuracy, and interpretations of available evidence will inevitably influence the visualisation process. Even artefacts that still exist more or less intact will have changed, even minutely, over time, and deciding which stage of the artefact’s “life” should be visualised is one of the first value-laden steps dependent on the researchers’ objectives.

Acknowledging the inability to completely reconstruct an artefact does not undermine visualisations as a method for generating knowledge. Alongside the uses of a digital replica for conducting further research, the visualisation process can offer insight into the artefact’s construction, its use, and perhaps even its symbolic significance for the people who created, re-created, used, re-used, inhabited, visited, maintained, protected, traded, adapted, and/or destroyed it. Therefore, the documentation of the visualisation process can be just as important as the visualisation product itself.

Paradata refers to information about the process of collecting and analysing data. Baker states, “Paradata captures the processes through which data artefacts are created, recombined, detached and discarded from their parent data objects as they are transformed” (173). The London Charter lists documentation of methodologies and descriptions of the use of evidence for interpreting artefacts as two examples of paradata.

For academic visualisation projects like this one, documentation of the decisions made during the modelling process should accompany the digital replicas to ensure intellectual transparency and academic rigor (Bentkowska-Kafel and Denard). These paradata posts on the modelling process address principle 4.6, Documentation of Process (Paradata), from the London Charter:
Documentation of the evaluative, analytical, deductive, interpretative and creative decisions made in the course of computer-based visualisation should be disseminated in such a way that the relationship between research sources, implicit knowledge, explicit reasoning, and visualisation-based outcomes can be understood.

For more information on how this project utilises the London Charter see here.

Further paradata on the following topics is available on these pages:

Architectural Plans
Modelling in SketchUp
Transferring to SketchFab

Detailed paradata of the modelling process for these sections is provided in the following pages.

Parterre and Basement
Dress Circle
Upper Circle
North and East Exterior Rooms

Further Reading

Baker, Drew. “Defining Paradata in Heritage Visualisation.” Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage. Ed. Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Hugh Denard, and Drew Baker. England: Ashgate, 2012. 163-175. Abstract and figures available https://visualizationparadata.wordpress.com/14-2/

Bentkowska-Kafel, Anna, and Hugh Denard. “Introduction.” Paradata and Transparency in Virtual Heritage. Ed. Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Hugh Denard, and Drew Baker. England: Ashgate, 2012. Web. Accessed 5 April 2015. https://visualizationparadata.wordpress.com/1-2/

Clark, Jeffrey T. “The Fallacy of Reconstruction.” Cyber-Archaeology. Ed. Maurizio Forte. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010. 63-73. Academia.edu. Web. Accessed 5 April 2015. http://www.academia.edu/1183290/The_Fallacy_of_Reconstruction