Phases of the Project

  • About the Project

    Phases of the Project

    The digital humanities angle of the vMLK project was of interest to us. How do we recreate a public address digitally when there is no existing audio recording and the visual record is limited to still photographs of the event? What would a recreation of the event mean for our understanding of the original event? What are the technical challenges of (re)creating an immersive experience of an historic event? These were all questions brought to the fore by this project.

    • Phase 1 (2013): Development and Recreation of the Speech

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    • Phase 2 (2015): Immersive Audio Experience

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    • Phase 3 (2016): Immersive Digital Experience

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    • Phase 4 – Text to be added here.

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  • Phase 1 (2013): Development and Recreation of the Speech

    Investigators on the Virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Project began work in 2013 with a digital humanities vision.

    The visual model of the historic White Rock Baptist Church will be built to fit the visualization lab in the Hunt Library on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The model will feature 270 degrees of visual surroundings on the walls and floor of the room and a speaker system delivering the audio. The goal will be to tell a narrative with the room: the audience will be able to see and hear what the speech was like from different angles and distances. The visual and audio model will transform with the changes that the audience makes: our acoustic model will track the changes in distance that are being shown on the visuals. These elements will tell a story of the speech beyond the speech, letting audience members learn what different reception the speech may have had from different areas of the room. For more on the reception of the speech, see the rhetorical history section.The finished model will allow the audience to enter a room and find themselves in a digital recreation of the White Rock Baptist Church in Dr. King’s time. Sitting in the space, the audience will be able to listen to the speech from different perspectives. This digital model will situate the listener in a digital representation of a particular time and place, allowing listeners to see and hear an important part of North Carolina’s history, present, and, through this project, hopefully its future.

  • Phase 2 (2015): Immersive Audio Experience

    Re-creating the speech both before a live audience and in a recording studio provided the building blocks for the project website.

    Our original plan called for a Martin Luther King, Jr. voice actor to perform the speech in a Raleigh studio so that we could have dry mixes to manipulate. Our goal was a recreation of the space’s acoustics: this meant we needed sound without much extra surroundings. Once we secured a speaker, and began consulting with a local audio expert, we saw an opportunity: we could have Mr. Marvin Blanks perform the speech at the new location of the congregation which original hosted Dr. King. We reached out to White Rock Baptist, and we found enthusiastic support for the idea. On June 8, 2014, Mr. Blanks performed the speech in White Rock Baptist Church sanctuary, with an audio professional recording the entire event. The audience was encouraged to actively listen and participate, which resulted in a rich and diverse audio experience different than what we had originally planned but more conducive to building a truly immersive experience of public address. Mr. Blanks performed the speech in the studio as well, giving us both dry recordings and recordings with audience feedback. These recordings became the audio building blocks for the immersive model going forward.In addition, the media and public responses to the re-creation were so strongly positive, we wanted to make the different audio recordings available to North Carolina and national public, so we built a website to host the recordings. This allowed us to deliver the first artifacts and disperse information about the project. This measure also allowed the project to show the first steps while developing the next stage of the project: a visual model of the historic White Rock Baptist Church that incorporated the audio we had captured.

  • Phase 3 (2016): Immersive Digital Experience

    The fully immersive digital experience of Dr. King’s speech requires the development of a digitally rendered model of the church sanctuary in which it was given.

    The visual model of the historic White Rock Baptist Church will be built to fit the visualization lab in the Hunt Library on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The model will feature 270 degrees of visual surroundings on the walls and floor of the room and a speaker system delivering the audio. The goal will be to tell a narrative with the room: the audience will be able to see and hear what the speech was like from different angles and distances. The visual and audio model will transform with the changes that the audience makes: our acoustic model will track the changes in distance that are being shown on the visuals. These elements will tell a story of the speech beyond the speech, letting audience members learn what different reception the speech may have had from different areas of the room. For more on the reception of the speech, see the rhetorical history section.The finished model will allow the audience to enter a room and find themselves in a digital recreation of the White Rock Baptist Church in Dr. King’s time. Sitting in the space, the audience will be able to listen to the speech from different perspectives. This digital model will situate the listener in a digital representation of a particular time and place, allowing listeners to see and hear an important part of North Carolina’s history, present, and, through this project, hopefully its future.

  • Phase 4 – Text to be added here.

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