The Rocks Virtual Reality project draws on the late 19Cth and early 20Cth – an era of spectacular innovations in leisure technologies, ways of seeing and experiments in immersive environments, to produce a stereoscopic virtual reality view of the Rocks in 1901 – a souvenir for contemporary visitors, capturing the wonder of nascent modes of seeing that reference the novel audience experiences of the 19Cth. The tour uses rare archival material including original photographs taken in 1901 by NSW Government photographer John Degotardi. These images documented what were then considered some of the more run-down parts of Sydney, prior to their proposed demolition after the outbreak of the bubonic plague. The photographs, brought to life through the magic of virtual reality and the historical aesthetic of colour-tinting, offer a wonderful insight into life in The Rocks a century ago—a time when domestic life was not confined behind closed doors, washing was strung up to flap between buildings, animals roamed the streets and scores of barefoot children played on the dusty roads.
- Stereoscopic Slide This stereoscopic slide was used as inspiration with its the aesthetic of human-centred action in the foreground with un-realistic perspectives creating background drama.
- Stitch of full 'fictive' Rocks panorama The Rocks was thoroughly photographed by Government Architect John Degotadi at the turn of the 19Cth in anticipation of the area being demolished. For this project we chose 8 photos and combined them (stitched) to create a fictive yet true panorama of The Rocks c 1900.
- Archival Photo These high resolution photos capture the people, their relations and the urban fabric.
- Archival Photo In terms of design, we looked for images with strong foregrounds (for stitching) and deep perspective (to leverage the stereo VR technology).
- Archival Photo Princes Street was demolished for the construction of the Harbour Bridge.
- 1880-1910 hand-coloured-photo-postcard Tokyo. Hand colouring was a popular aesthetic for both photos and time-based media at the turn of the 19Cth. The hand-touched aesthetic of The Rocks VR is drawn from this design tradition.
- The Rocks VR full moon - screen capture
- Painting of The Rocks At the same time that photographers were recording The Rocks, painters were also capturing the district in colour. For The Rocks VR, our hand-painted palette was drawn from a selection of these paintings. In the 19Cth, house painters mixed their own paints and colours. The Rocks district was subtly and beautifully hued from all these hand-made colours.
- The Rocks VR day time - screen capture
- The Rocks VR afternoon storm - screencapture
- The Rocks VR - screen capture
This stereoscopic slide was used as inspiration with its the aesthetic of human-centred action in the foreground with un-realistic perspectives creating background drama.