Hobart Fulldome: An Imaginary Immersive Space
A concept visualisation for a Hobart Fulldome cinema and visualisation centre, along the Hobart waterfront at Sullivan’s Cove.
Two simple platonic shapes for a platonic concept – of course, I would expect architects to do much better – but it could be very simple. It could be somewhere else entirely – but this seems like a good spot: a neutral zone.
Internally, I would propose a hemispherical 12-18+ metre diameter, 30º or 45º angled screen: Fulldome Cinema – akin to IMAX or Omnimax, but significantly less expensive, no vendor lock-in – and entirely digital. Run on Linux and opensource software (it already exists or we can make it.)
The image here is not to scale – just indicative of audience relationship to the screen. Of course, it could scale from anything between 25-250+ seats, depending upon the size of the development.
It would make economic, technical and cultural sense for Hobart to have a production, research and display facility like this. The business case could be well argued.
There’s lot’s happening in the future around the Hobart waterfront and I hope this sort of idea is on the radar of the relevant authorities.
Fulldome is a rapidly evolving and dynamic medium – the visualisation, creative screen and tourism potentials for Tasmanian and Antarctic Sciences and Arts are blindingly obvious.
Hobart Fulldome would immediately open up a range of national and international screen development networks. It will also lead to the local development of content for international export – as there are literally thousands of such systems being built around the world – desperate for new and innovative content. It is a new and undeveloped market – and we have so much here that is unique and currently unexplored for this exciting medium.
It should be a common-resource, a terra incognita, as the size of Hobart precludes development – and ownership – by individual organizations: a space of collaborative imagination is what is needed – this would also impart the requisite creative intellectual dynamism to the environment, as new and un-forseen interactions could develop.
I imagine something with scientist-in-residence and auteur/artist-in-residence programmes. A hybrid space for innovation and regular screenings – a schedule to be balanced and developed.
It would bring life and energy to this currently ‘dead’ area of the waterfront at Sullivan’s Cove, leading to a spread of activity all the way around to Salamanca Place, tied in with the Wireless Waterfront and Tasmanian NBN projects.
Key to this idea would be establishing an intimate association between the Sciences, Screen and Arts organisations that are locating around the area.
I can imagine tie-ins with (in no particular order):
- IMAS (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies)
- TPAC (Tasmanian Partnership for Advanced Computing)
- MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)
- Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC (ACE)
- IMOS (Integrated Marine Observing System)
- Australian Antarctic Division
- Tasmanian School of Art
- IASOS (Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies)
- CSIRO (CMAR and TAFI)
- TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery)
- Mawson’s Huts Foundation
- Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
- – and more….
There are so many organisations and individuals producing amazing visualisation data and creative content here that could be drawn together into a kind of renaissance. Stories to tell, narratives to unfold, data to be seen and understood in new ways.
Fulldome screen content is already entirely distinct from traditional planetarium applications (such as astronomy) and ranges across a huge range of genres and styles (e.g. DomeFest ) – it is part of the future of immersive cinema.
It would be a very fertile place for innovation and export of research, technologies, visualisation, education and screen content. A place of knowledge for the future of how we envision the world.
Such a facility can be very cost-effective to implement as technology costs have plummeted over the past 10 years. Many cutting-edge technologies are developed here in Australia (e.g. MirrorDome, iDome.) Besides mirrordome systems, fisheye and multi-projector systems are also now cost-effective.
And it needs a bar and a decent coffee shop: places to talk about ideas whilst admiring the view (virtual and real.)
Anyway, I’m just one man planting the seed of an idea…Hobart Fulldome is just a sketch of the possible amongst many…
As this idea is free, and I have an infinite budget in my imagination, why not arrange it so the seats fold down into the floor late-ish in the evening and the screen becomes visible (but not accessible) from a public-space/restaurant/cafe/bar opening out onto the waterfront, so that musicians can play and people can sit and chat and eat, whilst Antarctica, Tasmanian landscapes and – well – other stuff – can wheel silently around them on the screen behind, as people look across the waters – perhaps hiring wireless headsets or using mobile phone apps to watch and listen and interact with the giant screen (cf. Solar Equation). That would be quite an experience – they’d still be learning(!): all these places (visualisation centres, fulldome systems, planetaria) are turned off ‘after hours’ – and – if designed the right way in the first place – they needn’t be. They could still be earning their way.
I guess, whilst, yes, it is good practise to adopt principles from successful exemplars elsewhere – there is always space to innovate and do something uniquely ‘here’ – the Tasmanian Example, that makes a difference and that others emulate – because it works and it’s new and you’d only be free enough to do it on an island at the end of the world.
Constructive ideas are welcome.