Friday, 18 March 2011

Nice to meet you!

First Ars Navalis post: a good chance to make acquaintance.
What Ars Navalis is? Good question. Basically we are a creative collaboration group, people coming from different countries and continents. We met in Second Life and, nobody knows why, we started working togheter about reconstructing and “sailing” with replicas of ancient mediterranean ship.
Well, sounds a bit boring in this way, isn’t? Let’s try with other words.
I grew up near the sea, and now I miss it.
The word “Mediterranean” to me is a glimpse of white stone on the deep liquid blue, wild sage scent, neverending days under the hypnotic cicadas song. And I miss it.
Someone told that the Mediterranean Sea is a sea of legends, probably all the seas of the world are, so full of stories, faces and voices coming from far away, a natural invitation to cast your glance over the horizon.
Did you never see one of those old wooden ships, creackling waiting for the right wind on the moving water surface? It is almost impossible to be not falling in love looking at them, touching wood planks faded by salt and sun.
I think this is what moved a group of persons to spend hours and hours modelling virtual planks, painting wood nervations with photoshop or compiling C++ scripts in order to make those ships moving in the right way.
So, Ars Navalis is a virtual shipyard, building ancient ships in order to sail, heading to the source of an emotion.
Well, sounds a bit too much poetic, isn’t? Let’s try with other words.
I am a professional archaeologist and  Ars Navalis is a project about the ancient navigation, developed inside an online virtual environment (or Virtual World).
More or less we are all used to see 3D reconstructions of archaeological sites and monuments, but there is a huge difference between a virtual reconstrucion, a technologically perfect paint,  and and a virtual shared space.
The first diffrence is that inside a virtual space you can DO things, where in a virtual reconstructions you can just SEE things. But, my opinion, this is not the most relevant difference, while you can, however, do things also using a wii playstation or a videogame.
The most rlevat difference is that an online shared space is full of other real persons, and it focuses the topic. It moves the discussion by the field of the visual representation of objects to the field of the communication between persons. This is the point.
Ars Navalis then is a project about using a Cyberspace Environment in order to set up a collaborative and collective learning experience, focused on historical and archaeological topics.
We will talk a lot about it. We have time to do it.
Ready to pull up the anchor?
Good wind to you.