The SpatioScholar project started with a specific case study from Burcak Ozludil’s dissertation, “Madness and Empire: The Ottoman Asylum, 1830-1930” (2017). Ozludil’s work focused on the “spatio-medical” formation of the Ottoman asylums by analyzing the reorganization of space and time in them. In order to demonstrate the reorganization, which, in turn, demonstrated the change in psychiatric practice through spatial analysis and visualization, she examined two aspects: 1) how the buildings transformed over time; 2) what the life in the asylums looked like. After experimenting with various 2D and perspectival illustration techniques, Ozludil approached Augustus Wendell in Fall 2015 as one of the major concerns became the visualization of data. After initial discussions, Ozludil and Wendell started working with Ulysee Thompson, an undergraduate student from Computing Sciences, to develop a solution in Unity3D. Ozludil, Wendell and Thompson presented two papers on the project development and prototyping at the Digital Humanities 2016 and eCAADe 2016 conferences. In Spring 2017, an undergraduate Digital Design student and a Computer Science master’s student joined the group made possible with an internal Seed grant.
In addition to the Ottoman asylum case study, in Spring 2017 Maya Gervits, the head librarian at the Littman Library at NJIT, approached Ozludil and Wendell to incorporate her ongoing work related to an important theatre building in Odessa, Russia. With this case study, the group is working on the spatialized simulation of audio data within the 3D model of the theater through the use of Virtual Reality technology.