When Confucius said, “study the past if you would define the future,” he couldn’t have imagined that an intrepid archaeologist would one day combine a passion for the Ancient and Virtual worlds so that global adventurers could review the past through futuristic viewing devices.
When Marty and Doc went Back to the Future they also couldn’t have realised that 30 years later our very own (soon to be) ‘Doc’ – Simon Young – “inspired by a burning desire to travel back in time,” would don a pair of VR goggles and steer his own version of the DeLorean time-machine back to the dawn of the Roman Empire.
In a world where exponential technological growth is manifesting a future ‘stranger than fiction’, it’s comforting to know that technology can also deepen our connection to the past. Virtual reality enables us to stand on the threshold of western civilisations’ humble beginnings, cast our goggled eyes across ancient ruins, and witness a fallen empire majestically restored to its former glory.
VR places us in the same peristyles as those responsible for creating stunning architectural feats, classical democracy, public toilets, welfare, and the “two things that one should never discuss in public — religion and politics.” It places us in the middle of a time when these things mattered, because the true test of time is that these things still matter.