Rebuilt from memories

A preservation project for
that uses the power of human collective memory.

The background.

The Syrian War has destroyed important historical and world heritage sites, most of all in the ancient city of Aleppo. Considered lost, they are still alive in people’s memories. And on the world’s biggest digital platform for human memories – Instagram.

The project.

Rebuilt From Memories gathers Instagram photos taken of now destroyed historical sites and uses Photogrammetry to stitch together 3D models of them to create VR experiences. These will allow people to visit and revisit loved memories.

The technique.

We recover three historical sites by harvesting people’s photos taken of them.

This is how it works.

1

Basic structure

We use satellite imagery as a basis to get the right dimensions and proportions of the area.

2

Loading existing footage

A crawler automatically downloads existing Instagram images posted under #object or a location tag.

3

Crowdsourcing

Ads will call out to users asking them to send in existing hi-res photos of the sites from before the war under the hashtag mechanic #rebuildsitename.

4

semi-automatic Photogrammetry

Via photogrammetry software the dataset will be placed in a point cloud and derive more detailed textured exteriors.

Variation in quality, light direction and color requires manual curation of the source footage as well as manual sculpting of the model environments.

The Goal.

Preserving collective human memories of heritage sites by recreating them in the form of VR experiences.
We let users experience the memories of famous Syrian environments via VR and mobile devices. People will be able to enjoy an immersive experience of the reconstructed sites. This way we show how modern technology can allow people to play a major part in the preservation of important sites thanks to their memories of them.

Umayyad Mosque

Aleppo

Souk al-Saqatiya

Aleppo

Citadel of Aleppo

Aleppo