Perlus, Barry : Seed Grant, 2013-2014


Barry Perlus (Architecture Art and Planning)

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
Architecture Art and Planning
Project Title: 
The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh: An immersive, interdisciplinary project for visualization and cultural awareness
Project Abstract: 
Between 1727 and 1734 Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories in west central India. These structures with their striking combinations of geometric forms at large scale have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians worldwide, yet remain largely unknown to the general public. The objective of this project is to bring the story of sky observation, and an awareness of this extraordinary cultural heritage site, to an international audience. Immersive media initiates a deep relationship between audience and content, conveying ideas through virtual experience of place and event. This project uses an interactive book, multimedia, and the planetarium theater to bring its audience to the realm of the ancient astronomer/astrologers: to virtually stand at the base of a giant sundial, or move along the marble index of a great hemisphere to mark the exact position of a star. The seed grant will support the completion of an immersive/interactive book and linked website, and a prototype show for planetariums and full-dome theaters. This project will initiate an international, interdisciplinary collaboration between Cornell, the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, and the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi, India to produce an immersive show for planetariums and full-dome theaters worldwide. Multiple facets of research and production will afford diverse opportunities for student engagement.