Interactive Virtual Reality Reconstruction of Preclassic Maya Site
I began experimenting with a 3D interactive virtual reality approach in 2013, as a collaborator and chief texture artist for then-PhD-candidate Dr. Jeffrey Vadala’s (Post-Doctoral Scholar of Digital Humanities and Blended Learning at the Five-Colleges) Cerros VR Project (Now Cerro Maya VR). Since 2013, I have developed and designed historically accurate and interactive digital textures, architectural details, paints, botanical environs, and artifacts for the site. This interactive 3D virtual world was built using collections and data from the comprehensive Cerro Maya archaeological collection, now housed in the Florida Museum of Natural History. Jeff and I first began experimenting with developers editions of the Oculus Rift in combination with the Unreal Engine, and have now incorporated HTC Vive development into the project for increased interactivity and hand motions. Since then, we have worked together to create numerous pop-up VR labs around the country, as well as explored Kinect scanning methods and ethnoecological collaborations at sites in the Yucatan in Summer 2016.
In 2017-2018, I partnered with Jeffrey to assist in building a virtual reality laboratory at Hampshire College, and which was used by students to develop interactive cultural heritage projects in the “Critical Realities” course in Spring 2018. I have taken this approach into my own work, both in Ghanaian Contemporary Art virtual experiences (examples below) and work with Vodou healers in an Arcahaie community to pave the way forward for an on-the-ground technological lab to augment existing experimental film projects with VR technologies, including 360-degree film and sound experiences that bring to light the health quests of women in rural Haiti.