Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What is essential is visible to the eye (if you're in my model)

I hope the ghost of Antoine de Saint-exupery won't haunt me for having played with the wise words of his Fox characters, inverting their meaning. I wasn't suggesting a triumph of shallowness and prejudice, but just introducing a brief premise about my 3D modelling process. 

F. Piranesi's hypothetical restoration of the Iseum (detail)
showing the roof's supporting structure.
From builtindex
I have said that the first phase of my modelling will focus on the present archaeological evidence in situ. I might have called it “what is still there”. The expression is not entirely correct because what I am going to model is actually what we can see of what is there (assuming that we were free to  explore the whole Iseum as much as we like). 

In practice, this means that, for example, I am going to model the Purgatorium's underground space, even though it is not immediately visible and it is not accessible to modern tourists without a permit, but is potentially both visible and accessible.

On the other hand, I won't model what is not visible. To explain ti better, I can use an hypothetical example: let’s imagine that the roof of the Temple had survived. In that case, I would model only the ceiling (which is what an observer could see from inside the Temple) and the external elements such as the tiles or the architrave (which is what an observer could see from the outside of the Temple). But I wouldn’t model the (invisible) supporting structure. 
I am sure that modelling what actually allows a roof to stand (for many centuries!) is of massive interest in the study of architecture and ancient building techniques. 
As I am more interested in how a building was seen and experienced by people (either at as a Roman Temple or as a modern Touristic Attraction), I have decided  to include in my 3D model only what is accessible to the eyes of a human being that is allowed everywhere in the modelled space. 

The matter would be different if the hypothetical roof would be damaged. Then, the internal structure would be visible to visitors and part of their experience (and, therefore, object of my representation).

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