“Below Victory: Subsurface Radar Advances for Creative Digital Heritage” by Hessels

  • ©Scott Hessels



Entry Number: 15


    Below Victory: Subsurface Radar Advances for Creative Digital Heritage



    Recent advances in Ground Penetrating Radar have caused the imaging technology to pivot from a simple construction engineering tool to a valuable new option for archaeology. Newfound abilities to model sound echoes resonating through stone have revealed archeological discoveries where excavation is not possible. Working with a transdisciplinary team, the artist secured a GPR scan of 2,000-year-old Gallo-Roman temple ruins below the plaza of a gothic cathedral in France. The technology’s sounding image of the hidden site became a visual language that was explored in a 2-year series of artworks based on the discovery. The art + science research project resulted in data visualizations across many creative media including site-specific public trompe l’oeil, augmented reality, and hundreds of design experiments. Using the GPR dataset as a foundational resource in art-making, the project expanded the interpretation of Digital Heritage. Collectively, the works reinforced the understanding of a site hidden since Antiquity but also considered public non-sites in pandemic times. The advances in this scanning technology proved to be a powerful creative tool to highlight themes of how we protect and understand heritage, how we create public experiences in socially distanced times, and our responsibility to continually reconsider complex history.


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