Timescope, 1996

Berlin, Germany

Berliners and their visitors often ask themselves where the wall might have been located. Nearly no traces are left from a construction which defined the city for 30 years. The timescope was originally developed to allow people in Berlin to experience where this monstrous construction was located, how it divided the city and what it looked like.

By superimposing historical photos and films at exactly the location where they had been shot, the timescope enables a trip backwards in time at the presently-observed location. To do so, users pan around and select a date to inspect; historical photos or films are then superimposed over the present-day view. By offering renderings of the future conditions of a location, users can also travel forward in time. A camera attached to the device takes pictures after certain periods and integrates them into the system. This way, once the timescope has been installed, it expands its content independently.

Beside the vandalism- and weatherproof outdoor version there is also an indoor version in Berlin´s natural history museum, serving as a Jurascope. In the large dinosaur hall visitors can pan around with the Jurascope and by aiming at a dinosaur, bring it to life. The environment then changes from the museum into a Jurassic landscape, and the dinosaur, with its characteristic behaviour, can be observed in its natural habitat.

The project is a co-development between ART+COM and buero+staubach (product design).