ARCHiVe Online Academy: new presential workshop announced
Registrations are open for the 1st Workshop on Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice, which will take place on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore and other locations in Venice between October 9th and 13th, 2023.
This training initiative is focused on the application of non-contact, high-resolution digital technology to document and archive cultural heritage. 30 hours of practical and theoretical training will introduce participants to specific 2D and 3D digitisation techniques and methods that ARCHiVe has been pioneering in recent years.
The workshop is open to a limited group of participants (students and professionals with diverse skills and interests are encouraged to apply), who will learn directly from the experts of Factum Foundation and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. The team will take part in different ‘hands on’ scanning projects. No previous experience is required and all recording equipment and software will be provided.
As in other AOA (ARCHiVe Online Academy) activities, the course will be taught in English and participation diplomas will be provided. Accommodation at the Centro Vittore Branca’s residence is available.
To register, send your CV and a brief letter of motivation to: email@example.com before September 9th.
Read the syllabus
Firing the Arabic Kiln in Úbeda: reviving and recording traditional craft skills
Our project with a family of ceramicists from southern Spain is about to reach its culmination, with the firing of a series of traditional, functional and artistic objects in Úbeda, Andalusia, and the production of a film about the entire process. After over a year of production, we are coming to the point where the kiln will be loaded and fired with a range of objects made by Melchor Tito and his family.
The firing will happen on the full moon at the end of September and will be filmed by two camera teams over the 36 hours of the firing. The kiln uses the crushed remains of olive stones that are the result of olive oil production in the area and have a high calorific content. With one person feeding the firebox and one on the roof of the kiln directing the firing, the kiln will reach a temperature of 1.050 degrees Celsius.
The kiln will also contain two large decorated works made by Melchor Tito and decorated by Rachid Koraïchi. Rachid has spent weeks in Ubeda painting the two ceramic pieces whose shape is based on a C14th lustreware vase from the Alhambra.
More info coming soon!
A positive approach to sharing: the Njemitop Monolith at the Chrysler Museum
On the 23rd June 2023, two monoliths were brought to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC.
One was carved in basalt between the 15th and 17th centuries in Cross River State, south-eastern Nigeria, to represent a tribal leader or ancestor. It stood in the village of Njemetop in the Bakor region until the 1970s – the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War – when it was either sold or stolen, probably travelling over the nearby border with Cameroon and thence onto the international antiquities market, before being bequeathed to the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia in 2012.
The other is a facsimile made by Factum Foundation and will be housed in the Chrysler Museum in a permanent exhibition on looting and restitution, while the original will be returned to Nigeria.
At a time when the debate on restitution and repatriation is centre stage in cultural conversations, digital technologies are presenting new ways of thinking about – and perhaps even resolving some of – the issues.
Medardo Rosso’s Concierge
On June 9th 2023 Factum Foundation was invited to participate in the Study Day about Medardo Rosso’s sculpture La Portinaia (Concierge). The event was organised by Fondazione Cassa del Risparmio di Tortona and curated by Dr. Sharon Hecker, expert on Rosso’s work. Among the speakers, Carlos Bayod Lucini presented Factum’s digital recording of the original sculpture, which took place last October and resulted in the creation of a detailed 3D model for on-screen inspection of the Concierge‘s shape and surface. Two physical reproductions of the artwork were also donated to the museum’s collection to facilitate the conservation, study and dissemination of Rosso’s masterpiece.
SCREAMING DUENDE at the AALTOSIILO was an event staged by Factum Foundation and Oulu 2026 Capital of Culture on June 3rd, 2023. It was a central part of the AALTOSIILO project that is using the art and the reinvention of industrial cultural heritage to transform a neglected part of a city on the edge of the Arctic Circle and the frontline of climate change.
A world premiere paired the radical Sevillian flamenco master, Israel Galvan, with the world-famous Screaming Men choir of Oulu, Mieskuoro Huutajat, in the spirit of Federico García Lorca’s concept of duende. Performances by vinyl DJs Malsson, Tenko, and Matti Aikio and an audiovisual concert by Veera Neva & Arttu Nieminen were also included. The event was free and live-streamed and projected on the Silo itself.
SCREAMING DUENDE aimed to become part of the new lifeblood of Meri Toppila, creating local and international excitement. The event feeds the transformation of the AALTOSIILO into a multimedia performance and event space, with its future neighbour, the AALTOSIILO research laboratory, sauna and amphitheatre to follow. The City Council has recently approved the restoration plans by Skene Catling de la Peña and the next stages of the transformation of the site are now in motion.
Facsimiles for Aynhoe Park
RH England and Sir John Soane’s Museum (in collaboration with Charles Marsden Smedley) commissioned Factum Foundation to make a series of facsimiles that are part of the restoration and refurbishment of Aynhoe Park, a Grade I listed country house near Banbury that was rebuilt following the damage it suffered in the English Civil War.
Seldom has a small project brought so much satisfaction and motivated so many: from the elevated brickwork of the house, the recreation of the figures, the attention to detail on the classical models and the innovative manipulation of technology, this work became a motivating creative challenge. Throughout we worked closely with Sir John Soane’s Museum and the team from RH.
Facsimile of Bernini’s Salvator Mundi on display in Rome
The Salvator Mundi, Giovan Lorenzo Bernini’s last sculpture and part of the Fondo Edifici di Culto (FEC) of the Italian Ministry of Domestic Affairs, has been on display since April 12th at Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport. This display is part of a broader initiative by Aeroporti di Roma to celebrate Italian cultural heritage and offer Italy’s main airport as a place of artistic encounter.
FEC’s loan of the original sculpture for the reopening of one of the airport’s major terminals required the creation of a facsimile for display inside the original niche. Thousands of visitors access the Basilica of San Sebastiano Fuori le Mura to see the Salvator Mundi and a facsimile will allow them to still experience the work in its original context. Factum Arte and Factum Foundation’s expertise were recommended by Peter Glidewell for this project
The bust was recorded last March in high-resolution by Voula Natsi and Imran Khan, using white-light scanning and close-range photogrammetry, in close collaboration with FEC and the Appia Antica Archeological Park, and with the support of Montenovi Srl for the handling. The data will assist in the condition monitoring of the original marble sculpture, and accurate data resulted in a facsimile that is visually indistinguishable from the original.
The London Bell Foundry: new artist bells in production
A bell commissioned by artist Inés Civile has been approved for installation later this year at the Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) in Uruguay, and is currently in the final stages of production: the clay maquette was digitised and 3D modelled at Factum Foundation by Irene Gaumé, and the bell will be the first bell to be cast at Fademesa Foundry in Madrid. It will be tuned by Nigel Taylor.
Inspired by symbols of the Rio de Plata, the Tango Bell pays homage to European immigrants in South America and this unique musical genre, born from multiple ethnic contributions on the Rioplatense coasts.
Work on the next two artist bells to subsidise the London Bell Foundry is underway. Paula Crown and Conrad Shawcross are finalising designs that redefine the relationship between sound and form, the medium and the message. Jan Hendrix has also started working on the production of a bell that integrates his drawings with the creation of sound.
Image © courtesy Inés Civile
Digital restoration of a lost Banksy
In September 2022, Dover District Council acquired land in and around Bench Street for the purpose of regenerating a derelict part of Dover town centre. The Council had submitted a Levelling Up Funding bid of in August 2022. The bid was successful and in April 2023 the Council was awarded a grant of £18.1m that, together with Council match funding of £1.8m, will deliver among other things, a new further education campus building and a business centre.
One of the buildings on the site used to be decorated by an original work created by Banksy in 2017. In 2019 the artwork was painted over by anonymous hands. Following thorough investigations, it was found that the work, prompted by the artist’s thoughts about the UK leaving the European Union, could not be saved in its present form not least because the building on which it is painted is in a dangerous condition.
In collaboration with Dover District Council, in March 2023 a team from Factum Foundation was tasked to record the shape and surface of the painted over wall in high-resolution, using LiDAR and photogrammetry, in order to preserve the digital data of the painted wall, which will become part of the town’s historical records in addition to the countless pictures taken of the work before its disappearance.
Recording the two Pedro Abad ephebos sculptures
Factum Foundation and IAPH have entered a framework collaboration initiative to help preserve cultural heritage under the care of the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage.
The two Roman bronze ephebos discovered in Pedro Abad were recorded in high resolution in July 2022, using photogrammetry and white-light scanning, as part of the framework of the R&D and Conservation Program that IAPH is developing, with the sponsorship of Fundación Magtel. The study aims to learn more about this type of artwork and assist in the restoration process before the two sculptures return to Museo Arqueológico de Córdoba for display.
Capture and Display: ultra-high resolution capture requires ultra-high resolution display
Irene Gaumé, 3D sculptor at Factum Foundation, has led research on how to translate high-resolution relief maps aligned with panoramic composite colour photography to be viewed in real-time 3D rendering. We are about to incorporate the IIIF-compliant ‘digital torch’ so that it can be used for the study of three-dimensional renders of tombs and paintings. The freedom to control the view and light source will enable people to examine the surface of a tomb from any angle as if they were present in it. This will transform the study of epigraphy.
Falconry manuscript discovered in the University of Lund
As part of its mission to study and popularise the history of falconry, the Middle East Falconry Archive assembles digital copies of Arabic manuscripts which preserve handbooks written centuries ago. Some of these books have survived in several copies, and others appear to have been lost despite being reportedly influential in the field.
One such text was written for al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph who reigned from 847 to 861 in Iraq. This handbook about falconry and hunting circulated in the multi-lingual Mediterranean world of the 13th century. Kings Frederick II and Alfonso X of Castile both had translated versions of the Arabic text, and a Latin adaptation was also widely disseminated.
For several decades, scholars have looked for a complete copy of the Arabic version, which has now been identified inside the University of Lund Libraries in Sweden by historian Anna Akasoy (Graduate Center of the City University of New York). This near-complete copy was added to the Middle East Falconry Archive database and will help document and analyse the history of its transmission as one of the world’s most important falconry manuals.
Designing access to knowledge: Massive Change Network visits ARCHiOx
ARCHiVe, based on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, and ARCHiOx at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, are both going into their next phase thanks to the generous support of The Helen Hamlyn Trust. Diverse applications are emerging for the technologies developed (and being developed) to record and analyse manuscripts, books, and cultural objects.
Over the past two weeks, Venice and Oxford – as well as Madrid and London – have been the locations for discussions with Bruce Mau and Bisi Williams on how the vision behind their Massive Change Network can achieve its aims in collaboration with Factum Foundation and our partners.
Facsimile of Titian’s portrait of Federico Gonzaga, Ist Duke of Mantua on display at Palazzo Te
As part of the ongoing collaboration between Factum Foundation and Fondazione Palazzo Te, two paintings were recorded in high-resolution to make facsimiles for two major exhibitions in 2023.
The first facsimile is currently on display in ‘L’imperatore e il Duca. Carlo V a Mantova’ (March 24 – June 25, 2023): it is a perfect replica of Titian’s portrait of Federico Gonzaga, Ist Duke of Mantua (1529), from the collection of the Museo del Prado. The second facsimile will be prepared over the summer from the high-resolution data recorded at the Musée de Grenoble. This replica of the vast painting by Rubens The Ecstasy of St Gregory the Great will feature in a major show about the artist planned for October 2023.
Photo © Nicola Saccani | Fondazione Palazzo Te
Facsimiles of two Raphael Cartoons on display in Vicenza
The facsimiles of St Paul Preaching at Athens and The Sacrifice at Lystra were on display until July 9th 2023 inside the exhibition ‘Raffaello. Nato architetto’, curated by Guido Beltramini, Howard Burns and Arnold Nesselrath at the Palladio Museum in Vicenza.
Factum Foundation has been working with Arnold Nesselrath to understand the relationship between the Cartoons for the Sistine Chapel, today at the V&A, and the tapestries woven from them. In 2022 Factum Foundation recorded fragments of one of the Cartoons at the Musée Condé in Chantilly and analysed the pouncing – finding they fit perfectly. We are now in discussion with the National Gallery in Dublin to see if it is possible to scan their Cartoons, which are far more complete than the fragments in Chantilly.
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