Innovation comes in waves, small little ones and sometimes huge brutal waves. Once at the coast they also retract, go down under. Same goes for innovation; after initial euphoric results and (media) hypes setbacks kicks in, bringing in the need to retract, regroup and rethink. The often brutal waves disrupt at first, but after some time arrive in hype cycle’s valley of disillusion. Then it takes a while before it really break through.
And every now and then these waves of innovation take historic proportions. When in 2015 Vassar College’s art historian Andrew Tallon spent weeks in the majestic Notre Dame to record every detail in 3D, he probably never had though this work would be come of historic importance. Tallon died at age 49 probably never would’ve guessed his work probably will become one of the core foundations to rebuild the Grand dame Notre Dame after the horrific fire last April 2019.
Many of the paper drawing used to build the Notre Dame initially as well as the ones used during the centuries following over the years have been lost or at the least not documented in a useable way. Tallon, saving his meticulous work in a digital form, being able to store also in different formats and places gave France a huge and generous gift by actually fulfilling one of his own dreams and to share them digitally.
This innovation wave, at the time seen as important (hence the National Geographic coverage of it) but only after years and an unexpected event had grown into a brutal wave to rebuild history.
I will probably never see the endresult of the rebuild, although the crowfunding brings in large sums of money. But it will take years and years before rebuilding will start and it will be not a easy nor quick task.
I hope my grandchildren (assuming there will be) will have the chance to visit the rebuild site in the future, and will have the notion that sometime ago a would-be monk, music composer took on his dream and digitalized reality with the help of innovation and science, and thus kept history alive.
I’m left with my memories of my own visits to one of the places that withstand many events over the centuries, all but one : a devastating fire. One that millions across the world watched live and in real time over the internet, live TV-channels and brought tears to many of those who visited this iconic Grand Dame of which its beauty would completely overtake you when you entered it, like a large brutal wave.