ITE – Recreating Heritage

I have attending a few courses on ancient Indian Art History and it is painful to see lot of it being lost due to various reasons. The biggest reason is of course time and climate but there are human factors when graffiti is written in precious paintings. Take the case of Ajanta Paintings in Maharashtra – a UNESCO world heritage site. The paintings inside the caves have survived for almost 2000 years even when they were covered with vegetation for a long time. There are walls and walls filled with visual storytelling – that not only tell the stories of that era but are like a living documentation of human evolution. Most of these paintings can not be seen without the aid of artificial lighting – that has the potential to damage the works. It is also very difficult to visualize the paintings and understand the stories they are telling without the help of a good art historians – who are again small in numbers.

Can technology step in and recreate the magical works digitally? This would include using photographs and sketches by the early discovered to recreate. Some recreations have been done by artists like Yadegar Assisi using the old drawings, sketches and photographs, so it is not in the realm of impossible or unattempted. These paintings are detailed and would need the help of historians who have been studying them for a long time. The washed away portions can be recreated may be only digitally or the same can be used to create a real life model that the tourists can walk in to get a feel of how the life was in those days. This can be accompanied by documentation of the content of these sculptures or paintings.

Revenue can be generated by the

  • Licensing of the content to various agencies
  • Subscription / fee based access to content
  • Creating tour guides in various format ( books, audio, assisted ) and charging a fee for the same

Challenges

  • You would need to work with government agencies like Archeological survey of India and Art Historians who may not be India based
  • Capital intensive project may need funding from agencies like UNESCO / Government

With some brainstorming, more avenues for revenue generation can be thought of. Revenue gestation period may be long, but this information once documented will get valuable over a period of time as the historians and students of tomorrow will refer to this time and again.

I see a need for this solution – both for the tourists and for the historians.

Anuradha Goyal