“A Google Earth for Knowledge” the New Historia Project

Check out this exciting new project from Gina Walker at The New School:

Imagine brushing shoulders with history’s most influential women.  Women whose stories were never included in textbooks and encyclopedias. The New Historia, a new digital archive of female history was created by Dr. Gina Luria Walker, professor of women’s studies at The New School, that is changing the way we look at the past and eventually the way we’ll navigate it.

From poets to scientists, philosophers to soldiers, The New Historia was designed to document and promote the achievements of women in history that have long gone unnoticed and unrecognized by society. Inspired by Mary Hays’s Female Biography collection, (first published in 1803, updated in 2013 ) The New Historia’s goal is to create a knowledge-ordering system that builds on a new wave of a of historical research. combined with innovative technologies for representation and delivery.

The innovative technology is a Virtual Reality program created by  Lisa Strausfeld, a senior research fellow with Parsons School of Design and principal of the design studio Informationart, and it sends the viewer inside the data, so that you can walk from the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft to the death of Mary Shelley, bumping your head into Olympe de Gouges’ execution on the way.

“You’re actually inside the data and it feels real. Instead of thinking of each biography as a handful of pages, this is a world that’s infinitely expandable.”

This is still work in progress, both in terms of gathering the data and populating the VR program with images as well as well as timelines but it’s very exciting progress so far.

I was one of the fortunate few to try out the VR program at a symposium on New Historia at the New School last month and it struck as a combination of Star Trek’s Holodeck and the Tardis. Feminist History of Philosophy is going SciFi!

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