Just as it is important to create empty space between art pieces in a physical exhibition, we too wanted to give viewers moments to pause and digest the material. The website is carefully sequenced to control the pacing so a viewer does not become overwhelmed. Dingbats designed from archived etchings by Louis-François Cassas frame significant quotes and poignant messages, transforming them into poetic visual pauses between sections.
Though an online exhibition could never compete with or replace the visceral experience of a physical in-person exhibition, we wanted to take full advantage of the features that only a digital landscape could provide. To map Palmyra we utilized the infinite space available to us online. Cassas’ 18th century etching of Palmyra’s city plan was rescanned and programmed to function as a web mapping system much like the GoogleMap interface. When using a smartphone, visitors can pinch and zoom to survey the map in increasing detail, a level of interaction that only an online platform could activate.
The website was launched in conjunction with The Getty Research Institute symposium Palmyra and Aleppo: Syria’s Cultural Heritage in Conflict. The symposium created a space for discourse amongst scholars and activists. The goal was to start conversations that highlight the urgency needed to resolve the current conflict through diplomacy and UNESCO’s guidance.