Time travel – impossible? Well, with modern technology and the right kind of attitude – ‘impossible’ has become merely a word in today’s society.
So yes. What if we could travel back in time and experience the everyday lives of our ancestors? What if we could actually see and get a good glimpse of what it was all like?
Understanding history and our past is a way to understand ourselves – and the team behind Solid Eye, in collaboration with Heritage Malta, are cooking up something pretty impressive.
A church… and a time capsule
I first came in touch with this project during The Time Traveller’s Dilemma event as part of this year’s Science in the City Festival in Valletta. The event featured a custom-built time capsule installed inside the beautiful Church of St Mary Magdalene, which stands very close to the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
Upon entering the capsule, visitors are welcomed by a mysterious-looking speaker who talks you through as you travel back in time.
Dive into the past of our ancestors
Funded by Arts Council Malta’s Digital Research Fund, the Time Traveller’s Dilemma is currently collecting historical data that is in turn being digitalised. This data will eventually be used to create virtual 3D experiences where people can immerse themselves in different historical timeframes.
We have spoken with the project leader, Glen Calleja who explained:
“The team at Solid Eye is drafting and designing virtual environments that will be used in designated custom pods housing an interface that allows users a fully immersive and fully interactive experience. The installations were originally conceived as time machines for users to enter a defined physical space (modular pods) to interact and engage with a triad of variables, people, objects and places from different eras, both in the past and in the future. All of these elements will be designed in 3D. “
Glen also tells us how the end product would see a full immersive storytelling space that will serve as an interactive platform for both study and entertainment. The experience is aimed to be speech based and to be available in a variety of languages.
History as the most core and basic knowledge
The Time Traveller’s Dilemma’s main objective is to enhance access to national heritage as it aims to collect as much data as possible – not only that already at Heritage Malta’s disposal, but also the multitude of other artefacts that have long been stowed away in people’s homes and elsewhere, and that risk being thrown away to be lost forever.
What is great about this project is that it gives priority to the ‘every-day-man-on-the-street’ kind of narrative. This is fundamental, because ordinary people are the ones who can actually show us most what life in the past was all about.
They say that history repeats itself. What if we could witness it all through a time capsule?