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      The Spirit of the Cloud: The ‘New Jerusalem’ as a metaphor for social experiences of virtual technologies

      , , ,

      Proceedings of EVA London 2020 (EVA 2020)

      AI and the Arts: Artificial Imagination

      6th July – 9th July 2020

      Jerusalem, Church, Synagogue, Point cloud, Photogrammetry, Virtual reality

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          Over the past centuries, the city of Jerusalem has been a centre for social and spiritual experiences of diverse communities separated from their homes and cultures. The crusaders notion of a 'New Jerusalem'; the physical reconstruction of the holy city of Jerusalem in Europe has been reversed and implemented through remote communities who moved to Jerusalem from overseas and reconstructed their home and places of worship. This project aims to express and enhance the dialectical relationship between diverse geographical locations, manifested through lost and reborn communities, the old and the New Jerusalem. Two very different, yet historically linked test cases are explored: The reconstructed Synagogue of the lost community of Conegliano Veneto, Italy, and the Kidane Mehret Ethiopian Church. Both located today in Jerusalem. Through the use of advanced photogrammetry, we attempt to create an emotional experience, transcending time and space and intensifying the complex experience of life in a home away from home. The two structures are recreated as 3D point clouds, enhanced by sounds of prayer and blended with historical imagery. The relationship between technology and meaning can be seen as an extension of the age-old mind-body problem. That is, how the physical and technological process may influence emotion and the subjective experience. The 'Spirit of the Cloud' attempts to bridge this gap by offering a personal encounter, which transcends the objectivity of technology and elevates the subject into a personal spiritual voyage. This is attempted by providing an immersive multi-sensory experience, combining eye, ear and physical interaction. Two integral components contribute towards this: The virtual reality headset and the point cloud audio-visual experience, These aim to create a spiritual voyage, where one may wander at will and experience the atmosphere of a twilight zone, bound neither by space nor time, yet strongly attached to both. The paper outlines the considerations, limitations, and solutions undertaken in the digital recreation of the structures. Likewise, it explores the process of fusing the technical challenge with the desired emotional impact on the user.

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          Most cited references 4

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          Africa in Jerusalem – The Ethiopian Church

           R Twite (2020)
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            Synagogues in Italy until the 18th century

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              Modernity Comes to Jerusalem

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                Author and article information

                July 2020
                July 2020
                : 58-65
                Hadassah Academic College

                Jerusalem, Israel
                Scan the City

                Tel Aviv, Israel
                © Caine et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2020

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

                Proceedings of EVA London 2020
                EVA 2020
                6th July – 9th July 2020
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                AI and the Arts: Artificial Imagination
                Product Information: 1477-9358 BCS Learning and Development Ltd
                Self URI (journal page):
                Electronic Workshops in Computing


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