I began this study intending to explore how new media and digital medium in particular might help us to better understand and interact with real spaces as artifacts — particularly in a museum setting. As I searched for the nonobvious effects to which digital media might be used to represent spaces, a few questions arose: how might new media help us to engage the untouchable aspects of places that have changed over time? What are the advantages of using new media when we cannot access the real? As I considered these issues, I became increasingly interested in the co-existence of a virtual and real version of an artifact.
The relationship between the real and the virtual has always been a subject of concern mainly related to the fear that the virtual might threaten or devalue the real. On the other hand despite the increase use of sophisticated virtual environments, there seems to be an increase demand for the face-to-face interaction. This suggests a need for the virtual to co-exist with the real -- in order to augment rather than to replace it.
This thesis addresses specific problems reflected to placing an architectural artifact into a museum or gallery setting where it is both de-contextualized and re-contextualized. It also talks about the role that museum plays with respect to artifacts. It explores how a virtual version might augment the real version of an artifact and investigates the forms that the virtual might take when the two versions co-exist side by side. The "Firestone House and Collection" is used as a case study to explore issues and possibilities.