Foto di Samantha Colombo
In June 2018, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation, and the Digital Humanities Laboratory of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL-DHLAB) created ARCHiVe – Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice, with the Helen Hamlyn Trust as supporting founder.
The new facility is dedicated to the technology and digital preservation of the cultural heritage on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.
The partners share the belief that digitisation is an epoch-making change bound to have a big impact on research and education in the field of the humanities. ARCHiVe therefore aims to make the international community aware of the importance of digital technology as an indispensable means of preserving cultural heritage in the 21st century. In fact, the new facility acts as a hub for academic and cultural institutions that intend to apply and develop emerging technologies and advanced computer-vision software. These tools are at the service of its main mission: to build a large archive of digital data and safely store them on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore (and elsewhere) for future generations. The collected data are processed by people of different origins, disciplines and nationalities, who give their time and pledge their joint commitment to preserve and ensure access to the legacy of the past and so inspire the present.
ARCHiVe also organises educational activities, with theoretical and practical lessons addressed to scholars and researchers, public institutions, foundations, companies and individuals seeking to improve their skills in the field of digital cultural heritage. The training programmes are based on the radical approach of learning by doing, aimed at providing an understanding of the technological implications of digitisation through interdisciplinary collaborations, direct experience and all-round involvement in real situations.
To sum up, ARCHiVe pursues is mission to digitise and make the most of the Fondazione Cini’s rich documentary heritage by working in collaboration with its research institutes. This also means involving other organisations and scholars in studying new methods of preserving and transmitting the Foundation’s heritage by means of digital technologies. Lastly, it provides training activities for people working in the digital cultural heritage sector.
The Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2009 in Madrid by Adam Lowe. It works alongside its sister company, Factum Arte, a multi-disciplinary workshop in Madrid dedicated to digital mediation in
contemporary art and the production of facsimiles. The Foundation was established to demonstrate the importance of documenting, monitoring, studying, recreating and disseminating the world’s cultural heritage through the rigorous development of high-resolution recording and re-materialization techniques. The Foundation’s activities include: building digital archives for preservation and further study, creating and organizing touring exhibitions, setting up training centres for locals to learn the different technologies developed by the Foundation to record their own cultural heritage, and producing exact facsimiles as part of a new approach to conservation and restoration.
The Fondazione Giorgio Cini was created on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in 1951 by Vittorio Cini in memory of his son Giorgio. The initial aim of the Foundation was to restore the Island, which had fallen into disrepair after almost 150 years of use as a military base, and to re-integrate it in Venetian life as an international centre for cultural activities and important meetings. In its almost seventy-year history, the Foundation has promoted permanent social, cultural, artistic and research activities, with special reference to Venetian and Veneto culture. These activities have always been pursued through original initiatives creating continuous dialogue with Italian and international cultural figures and institutions. The Foundation’s exceptional standing is highlighted by the large number of events promoted and hosted in its premises and the extent of its heritage, especially its art collections (antique books, drawings, miniatures, tapestries, paintings, furniture and sculpture) and considerable archives preserved on San Giorgio. In 1984, this heritage was further enriched by the addition of the Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio with its collections of Renaissance Tuscan and Ferrarese paintings.
Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary domain applying computational methods to conduct research in the humanities. The Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLAB), founded in 2012 by Professor Frédéric Kaplan develops new computational approaches for rediscovering the past and anticipating the future. Projects conducted at the lab range from building “Google maps of ancient places” to studying how algorithms transform the way we write. Benefiting from EPFL’s strong technological expertise, the DHLAB conducts research projects in collaboration with prestigious patrimonial institutions and museums, all over Europe. The lab’s interdisciplinary team includes computational scientists, mathematicians, experts in geographical information systems and interaction designers – all with transdisciplinary backgrounds facilitating interaction with humanities’ scholars from all disciplines. The Venice Time Machine is the DHLAB flagship project. It aspires to digitize 1000 years of historical records and make them accessible.