The panorama - 3

Eventually superseded by cinema and photography, the panorama almost disappeared, with just a few remaining examples. It is an immersive experience, a journey across time and place to great historical events or places of natural beauty. Now it has been revived in the form of a virtual experience in the computer.

By standing within the circle of posters you can view literally a panoramic view of Edinburgh as it was in 1800.

The same panorama has been captured in the computer and by using the mouse you can check out the annotated copy of Barker's panorama. The picture contains a number of familiar features and others which have now disappeared. Almost hidden in the panorama are litte cameos of the people of the time as they go about their daily business.

The full effect of Barker's panorama can be recreated with a Virtual Reality headset - the visor records where the wearer is looking and adjusts what is seen accordingly. It is even possible to recreate 3D, albeit in limited cases. By knowing the 'rules' for perspective and adding depth cues, old paintings can be given depth as can be seen in these representations of Old White Horse Yard, Canongate in 1822 and now

The Holodeck is still some way off but Barker's idea coupled with modern technology is as close as it is possible to get to travelling back in time to old Edinburgh.


Image Copyright © City Arts Centre

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