Cultural data sculpting


Lecturer(s) :

Kenderdine Sarah Irene Brutton




This course will engage novel approaches for visualizing and interacting with cultural heritage archives in immersive virtual environments.


Today we mine data: tomorrow we will sculpt it *

'Cultural Data Sculpting' at the intersection of two dynamic phenomena, the ever-expanding heterogeneous digital archives, in conjunction with their visualization in immersive, interactive display systems. This course will engage novel approaches (with computational challenges) to creating innovative applications for visualizing and interacting with these cultural heritage archives.

This course is located at a new laboratory researching the forefront of experimentation in galleries, libraries, archives and museums. This lab contains a wide scale immersive, interactive virtual reality and augmented reality systems including a 360-degree 3D panoramic projection screen and a 4K fulldome. Students will have access to these state-of-the-art systems to design and build their applications. Emphasis is on the development of a new approach to digital cultural archives in these omnidirectional and hemispheric systems.

Students will have access to already existing digital cultural archives including structured and unstructured data. These include the CERN archives, a Leonardo Da Vinci image archive and a subset of the Montreaux Jazz Festival archive. Students will work together in small teams to focus on specific aspects of the application design and programming, culminating in an interactive installation.

The race will use a unity 3D platform, running across a powerful PC cluster and / or single IG as required. Aspects of signal processing, machine learning and data analysis are useful but not mandatory prerequisites.

Course outline:

    1. Introduction to cultural data sculpting / Introduction to eM+ / Introduction to Unity engine
    2. History of media art & Theorization of Digital Cultural Heritage
    3. Fieldwork trip (TBC)
    4. Introduction to datasets (CERN; MJA & more)
    5. Introduction to visualization frameworks at eM+ with case studies
    6. Project team /data structuring / HCI / software requirements
    7. Project design I
    8. Project design presentations / Project development I
    9. Project development II
    10. Project development III
    11. Project development III / Project integration I
    12. Project integration II
    13. Project integration III
    14. Evaluative frameworks for immersive systems (I Sho U) / Final presentation

      * O'Neill, G. 2010. Data Sculpting . Turbulence Ahead.

      Learning Prerequisites

      Required courses

      No mandatory prerequisites

      Recommended courses

      Applied Data Analysis

      Signal Processing and Machine Learning for Digital Humanities

      Introduction to Digital Humanities

      Important concepts to start the course

      Working knowledge of Unity 3D

      Interactive Computer Graphics

      Interaction Design

      Learning Outcomes

      By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

      Transversal skills

      Teaching methods

      Theoretical lectures

      Exhibitions and installation experiences and critiques

      Applied project design, development and delivery

      Expected student activities

      Two short essays

      Design concept (as part of a group of 3-4 - written)

      Final project (as part of a group of 3-4 - practical)

      Group work

      Design critiques


      Assessment methods

      Short essay 1 (written) - 10%

      Short essay 2 (written) - 10%

      Design concept (written / group work) - 50%

      Final project (practical / group work) - 30%


      Office hours Yes
      Assistants Yes
      Forum Yes
      Others Lab

      In the programs

      Reference week

      8-9 AAC137   
      10-11 AAC137   
            Exercise, TP
            Project, other


      • Autumn semester
      • Winter sessions
      • Spring semester
      • Summer sessions
      • Lecture in French
      • Lecture in English
      • Lecture in German