Course Projects

Virtual Alhambra

In spring 2020, I taught the course "Sensory Spaces, Tactile Objects: The Senses in Art and Architecture" at Pomona College. This course examined the role of the senses in art and architecture to move beyond conceptions of art history that prioritize vision. While the experience of art is often framed in terms of seeing, the other senses were crucially involved in the creation of buildings and objects in the medieval and early modern periods, just as they are the work of present-day artists. Textiles and ceramic vessels invite touch, gardens involve the smell of flowers, sacred spaces were built to amplify the sound of prayers and chants. This class will examine how multisensory experience operates in the medieval and early modern arts of Eurasia, and how it can be experienced today, both in historical objects and contemporary art. For the final projects, students used Unity, a videogame design software, to create reconstructions of the 14th-century palaces of the Alhambra and populate them with objects and sound. Together with the designers at Explorasaurus Studios, students were able to use their research in order to create this digital space. An overview of the project and downloadable desktop versions are available on the developers' blog, under the heading Virtual Alhambra.


courtyard of lionsfountain of lionslindaraja entry hall with objects