This January, I will be studying abroad in Florence and Rome with my classmates for a course exploring the life, work, and influence of Michelangelo Buonarroti. I have coordinated both with my professor and my supervisors at Occidental College’s Center for Digital Liberal Arts to use this as an opportunity to explore the new technology of 360 Video within an art historical context. A skilled Art Historian is an empiricist, which means that in addition to considering documental and historical factors, one must also assess the physical, spatial context of a work. Concerning academic curriculum, this can be rather difficult in regards to sculpture and architecture as they exist within a three dimensional space that often demands a viewer’s direct engagement. Painting is relatively straightforward to teach, as a projected form can often accurately replicate a flat image (through color fidelity impacts iconographic interpretation). This means that courses that teach sculpture and architecture without an on-site component lose valuable nuance, that I hope can be in some form be rectified by an immersive digital experience. In particular, I will prioritize Michelangelo’s sculpture, Bacchus, and the Piazza Campidoglio. In the Bacchus, Michelangelo’s early revolutionary insight created a work that demands the viewer to circumambulate the sculpture, revealing the full meaning. The Piazza Campidoglio, the secular center of Rome is laden with classical influence and historical symbolism that can only truly be grasped when one walks through it. I hope to also capture the Laurentian Library and the tombs of Lorenzo and Giuliano de Medici in San Lorenzo, given optimal circumstance. In the end, I hope to use Scalar to create a presentation on the works I capture with 360 Video and embed them within my own scholarly composition, with the hopes of some form of an eventual integration into Art History pedagogy.
Lilla Butterworth: My name is Lilla Butterworth. I’m a sophomore at Occidental College in Los Angeles, originally from Philadelphia. I’m an Art History major, minoring in Group Language–specifically Chinese, French and Russian. At Oxy, I work for the Center for Digital Liberal Arts as the Peer Learning Manager. I collaborate with students and faculty alike to facilitate undergraduate cooperation and incorporate digital forms into liberal arts education.