Before and After Palmyra

Perceiving change from time-based image search

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Palmyra is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites which was added to the endangered list in 2014. This project explores the perspective of media in documenting and representing this particular site before and after its endangerment. We are interested in seeing how our physical realities are virtually documented and how closely our virtual histories reflect our physical ones. We have chosen to look at this theme using a historical site as our subject matter to foil and explore notions of histories. The site of Palmyra: evidence of a far history which exists in our landscapes and has endured over centuries, and our digital traces: that which becomes history immediately upon its upload to the internet.

Data for this project comes from UNESCO's Official World Heritage List dataset, downloaded from UNESCO official site. The data used in this project has not been updated since April 2016.

A brief introduction to UNESCO's endangered list and Palmyra.

Next, explore the image results for before and after.

Using Google's time filter option, the first 100 Google Images results for the search term "Palmyra" are collected from 2008-12 and 2013-16.


Images are manually identified into categories based on their content. These categories include Arial Views, Triumphal Arch, Roman Theatre at Palmyra, Temple of Baal, Sculptures and Details, Panoramic Views, Colonnades, Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle, and Violence.

before

after

Images are scaled to represent the number of images for each category.

Select a category to browse the images.