Idea by 3-D SPACE

STEREO/SCOPE: Looking Forward By Looking Back utilizes the latest virtual reality technology to create a simulacrum of a Victorian era stereoviewer, in which participants will experience life in the 19th century through historical immersive 3-D still photography, digitized and enhanced for the digital age.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

San Fernando Valley

City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Most people aren’t aware that stereoscopic imaging has a very rich history that dates back to the 19th century. 3-D image creation and VR as we know it today has its earliest roots in the 1800s, dating to the very origins of photography. From the 1850s until the 1920s, stereographs were a popular form of personal entertainment, as common in Victorian culture as TV is today. Much of the appeal of stereoscopic photographs was the same as modern VR - the ability of 3-D imagery to immerse and virtually transport people to faraway places that they wouldn’t be able to visit in person. By juxtaposing popular analog stereo photos of the 1800s with digital VR technologies, this project will demonstrate that motivations for immersive experiences today are the same as in the past, and that VR techniques culturally achieve the exact same goals. This will provide a means of immersive exposure to our history, that the public would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

This project will utilize the latest virtual reality technology to create a simulacrum of a Victorian era stereoviewer. Participants will experience life in the 19th century through historical immersive 3-D still photography, digitized and enhanced for the digital age. and will view entire collections of digitally scanned vintage stereo photographs in a new and interactive way . This project will create high resolution scans of over 10,000 analog stereograph photographic cards. Concurrently, a VR software application will be developed for multiple platforms. The stereoscopic digital image files will be integrated into the VR environment so that any image in the database can instantly be searched for and viewed in the virtual stereoscope. A room-scale virtual reality installation will serve as a destination where participants will be able to explore the Victorian environment and view the stereo images just as they were intended when they were produced over a century ago. Scanned images will also be digitally converted into lightfield representations for public viewing on glasses-free holographic displays, which will allow large groups to share the immersive experience of the VR user. An internet based app will be made available at remote locations and for distant participants to explore the project. Participants will have a transportive experience within a transportive experience, and will learn how the analog of the past directly informs the digital of the future.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 50

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our hope is that the VR applications and content developed through this project will be of interest to other museums, archives, and libraries in Los Angeles. The finished VR applications can be made available to organizations and individuals who would like to utilize them to make their own collections available, and will invite future collaborations with the 3-D SPACE. The project will provide a roadmap to making new assets available in the same manner, and potentially spawn a publicly accessible network of digital stereoscopic images that can be shared among institutions and with the public at large.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

During the project’s working phase, the public will be invited to beta test the apps. Upon completion, a room-scale VR installation will serve as a destination for public participation and the web version will be available so distant participants can engage. Groups will be able to view holographic installations at locations throughout Los Angeles. Our work will be directly evaluated by the public who engage with the installations. The people who attend our exhibitions will be able to provide feedback to shape future programs.The project will be exhibited in various public venues including art galleries, film festivals, and online, where the Los Angeles community at large will be able to see, experience, and comment. Our internal evaluation will be based on measuring levels of continuing engagement with the public, growth of audience size, attendance numbers at our events, and public demand for increased activities.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

There is no specific collaborative partner for this project. 3-D SPACE is the singular applicant for this grant. Funds will not be disbursed to any partners. In the past, 3-D SPACE has collaborated creatively with organizations throughout the Los Angeles arts and education sectors, including the Los Angeles Central Library, Columbia Memorial Space Center, LA Filmforum, the Velaslavasay Panorama, the Echo Park Film Center, Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, Monsterpalooza, Heritage Square Museum, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the LA 3-D Club, as well as other arts and science organizations, museums, galleries, libraries, and schools. When funded, this project will offer multiple collaborative opportunities with these and others.

Which of the CREATE metrics will you impact?​

Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN