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Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula
Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula

In September 2018, Factum Foundation’s Otto Lowe spent two weeks in the town of Al-Ula, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, teaching a group of fifteen locals how to record cultural heritage in 3D using photogrammetry. A collaborative pilot project between the Factum Foundation, Art Jameel, and the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), a class of 15 locals were first taught of the core concepts and technical processes behind photogrammetry then were able to practically apply this knowledge to the recording of three different petroglyph sites in the vicinity of Al-Ula. This educative initiative is one of the most significant in Factum Foundation’s recent efforts to support the dissemination of digital recording skills and technologies across Saudi Arabia.

Read more about it here.

Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018
Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018

On December 6th, the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) Project invited Factum Foundation's director, Adam Lowe, and photogrammetry expert, Otto Lowe, to talk jointly with Art Jameel and the Royal Commission of Al Ula at the Protecting the Past Conference.
This is a series of talks and events aiming at finding efficient strategies for the future of cultural heritage preservation and building long-lasting partnerships within the MENA region by bringing together stakeholders from many different boards.

On this occasion, the three institutions also presented their latest collaboration: a project aiming at transferring technology and know-how to local communities by providing training in data capture and processing to a number of selected participants. The pilot of this series of training programs ran this past October, 2018 in Al Ula with sixteen students and resulted in the successful capturing of 74,000 images and over 1.29TB of data.

Click here for further information about this new collaboration.

Click here for further details about the conference.

Recording an avant-garde masterpiece
Recording an avant-garde masterpiece

Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, 1915 is regarded as the iconic painting of the Russian avant-garde. In March 2018, a Factum Foundation team were at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in order to fully record this delicate piece, as well as the 1929 reproduction created for a retrospective held at the gallery that year. The Lucida 3D scanner was employed to capture the intricacies of their surfaces, with this used alongside panoramic photography to achieve a comprehensive set of data that will aid further study of the mysterious work and ensure its longevity for generations to come.

Learn more.

Digital and physical reconstruction of the vandalised sacred cave of Kamukuwaká
Digital and physical reconstruction of the vandalised sacred cave of Kamukuwaká

The cave of Kamukuwaká, an important sacred petroglyph site representing the cosmogony of the inhabitants of Upper-Xingu (Mato Grosso, Brasil) and registered national monument has been intentionally destroyed. Culture is under threat and digitisation of Cultural Heritage is the most effective way to monitor its condition. Following the recording of the vandalised sacred cave, Factum Foundation is now working on its digital reconstruction in virtual and physical form.
This will lead to the creation of an exact physical facsimile of the cave, at a scale of 1:1, to be displayed at the first 'Pavilion of Indigenous People', at the garden of the Knights of Malta, 
during the 2019 Venice Biennale of Art.
Learn more.

Recording of the Al Ain Museum
Recording of the Al Ain Museum

In September 2018, a team from Factum Foundation travelled to the oasis city of Al Ain in the Abu Dhabi Emirate in order to record and digitise the exhibits of the Al Ain Museum. The museum, the oldest in the UAE, is being temporarily closed to allow its renovation and the construction of an additional museum building, with Factum commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism to document its variety of exhibits that focus on the ethnographic and archaeological history of the country so as to ensure their long-term protection.
Two forms of digitisation were conducted: an overall scan using a LiDAR laser scanner in addition to photogrammetry on individual exhibits to supplement the LiDAR data.
Read more.

Rebuilding the Heraclitus Vessel
Rebuilding the Heraclitus Vessel

Factum first got involved in the rebuilding of the ferro-concrete Research Vessel Heraclitus, a 25-metre long concrete Chinese junk that carried out important expeditions over 40 years and 270,000 nautical miles through six oceans, in 2014. Working alongside San Lab Projects from London, 3D visualisations of the hull were produced; first using the FARO scanner, and then, on returning in 2018, using LiDAR technology. This 3D model will provide further assistance to the rebuild project that aims to have the Heraclitus ready for her most ambitious voyage: a five-year Ethnosphere Expedition to West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, commencing in 2020.

Learn more.

Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House
Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House

The extraordinary 'Cellini Bell' by Wenzel Jamnitzer (1507/1508 to 1585) was recorded in June 2018 at the British Museum in London. This highly intricate cast and chased silver bell was amongst the most difficult objects Factum Foundation has ever recorded. It has been replicated in silver using several techniques to try to retain the extraordinary level of detail that characterises Jamnitzer's work. The exact facsimile will be included in the exhibition "Lost Treasure of Strawberry Hill" (20th October - 24th February 2019) in Twickenham.

This exhibition brings back to Strawberry Hill some of the most important masterpieces in Horace Walpole’s famous and unique collection. Horace Walpole’s collection was one of the most important of the 18th century. It was dispersed in a great sale in 1842. For the first time in over 170 years, Strawberry Hill can be seen as Walpole conceived it, with the collection in the interiors as he designed it, shown in their original positions.

Factum Foundation supports Strawbery Hill Trust in its effort to recreate the original splendor of Walpole´s home and collection. Several other treasures from Strawberry Hill, such as Sir Joshua Reynolds' The Ladies Waldegrave or Allan Ramsay´s portrait of Horace Walpole´s nieces, have been recorded since 2015.

Learn more.

Columbia University's Studio trip, Seville
Columbia University's Studio trip, Seville

This year, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod's Studio on Advanced Preservation Technology programme, at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP, Columbia University), is based on the application of non-contact digital recording systems within the frame of a fieldwork project: the documentation of the great Casa de Pilatos in Seville. During a 3-day intensive trip in early October, the students carried out the recording of a selection of art and architecture elements throughout the building. The students had the opportunity to receive on-site training by scanning specialists from Factum Foundation, working in groups so as to obtain high quality information on the current conservation state of the palace. The obtained data will be processed by the students with the aim of generating virtual and physical outputs that could ultimately contribute to the appreciation and dissemination of Casa de Pilatos.

Recording in Casa de Pilatos, Seville
Recording in Casa de Pilatos, Seville

In early October, a team from Factum Foundation spent three days in Seville for the recording of various elements of Casa de Pilatos. As part of our collaboration with the Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli, which started with the recording of Cardinal Tavera's tomb, this project aims at applying digital technology to the recording and preservation of one of Medinaceli's great treasures. The Casa de Pilatos, one of the main Renaissance palaces in Europe, contains a unique collection of Cuenca-style azulejos from the 16th Century, as well as an impressive collection of art and archaeology artefacts. Various non-contact methods were employed to obtain high-resolution 3D and colour information of a selection of elements, including the Lucida 3D Scanner, close-range photogrammetry, Lidar 3D scanning and panoramic colour photography. The team was formed by Pedro Miró, Gabriel Scarpa and Carlos Bayod with Abhijit Dhanda, an intern from Carleton University. This initiative will provide a comprehensive digital archive of the current conservation state of the Casa de Pilatos and will lead to further collaborations to disseminate the importance of the site.

News from Dagestan
News from Dagestan

A team from Factum Foundation is in Dagestan to install a new portable manuscript scanner for the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography in Makhachkala. The scanner will be taken on expeditions into Dagestan's mountains as part of a long-term campaign to digitise and study the thousands of Islamic manuscripts held by private collections in the region.

Factum, in collaboration with the Peri Foundation, has been working with the IHAE since 2016. The project has involved the creation of high-resolution book scanning systems integrated by means of custom-designed software for sustainable data storage and preservation.

Read more about the project here.

The facsimile of the tomb of Seti I at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo
The facsimile of the tomb of Seti I at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo

The exact facsimile of the sarcophagus of Seti I, produced in 2017 by the Factum Foundation and initially part of the exhibition "Scanning Seti: The regeneration of a Pharaonic Tomb", is currently on view at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. The objects in the new exhibition "Images of Egypt" intend to reflect an ancient landscape in radical transformation.

"Images of Egypt" shows the monumental book Description de l'Égypte (1809-1829) with the amazingly detailed illustrations of Napoleonic drawings, but also the image flood that followed the wake of the French invasion and which made ancient Egypt a part of western modernity. Temples, obelisks and sarcophagi were exported to the whole world; followed by newspaper reports on groundbreaking logistics and engineering, sketches and prints, panoramas, paintings, photography and postcards. "Images of Egypt" shows works in this tradition; among them exclusive Sévres porcelain, commissioned by Napoleon, architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel's scenographs to Mozart's Magic Flute (1815) and David Hockney's sensational scenarios for the same 1977 opera, recently excavated plaster antiques from the film set of Cecil B. DeMille's biblical epic The Ten Commandments (1923) and Factum Foundation's facsimile of Seti's sarcophagus (in collaboration with Arte).

Visit the museum's website.

Venice: Homo Faber, Veronese, workshop
Venice: Homo Faber, Veronese, workshop

During the exhibition Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future (14-30 Sept. 2018) at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, two works by Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese were digitised with the foundation's Lucida 3D scanner. In collaboration with Open Care's Department of Conservation and Restoration (Milan), Factum Foundation is scanning Veronese's diptych, depicting the Prophet Isaiah and the Prophet Ezekiel, owned by the Gallerie dell'Accademia. The data, gathered before and after the diptych's restoration, will be used to inform and document the cleaning of the paintings.

As part of this initiative, a practical workshop on surface 3D scanning was carried out by a team from Factum Foundation on September 21st - applications open here.

Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli
Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli

The recording of the tomb of Cardinal Tavera initiated a collaboration with the Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli that is a great example of what is possible when different foundations work together to record, archive, analyse, preserve and communicate the importance of Cultural Heritage.

The first stage of the work, the complete high-resolution recording of the tomb is now finalised. The captured data was processed using the photogrammetry software Reality Capture.

Read more.

Recording of 11 shabti figurines of Seti I
Recording of 11 shabti figurines of Seti I

A team from Factum Foundation has started the photogrammetric recording of eleven shabti statuettes from the tomb of Seti I (1290-1279BC) in the Valley of the Kings. These statuettes are part of the permanent collection of the Museo Civico Archeologico of Bologna (MCABo). The information recorded will be included in a virtual rendition of Giovanni Battista Belzoni's 1821 exhibition at the Egyptian Hall in London, a digital monograph part of the Brown University digital publishing initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This will hopefully be the first step toward a future collaboration to preserve and enhance the MCA's Egyptian collection.

Shabtis
Ten statuettes are made of wood and one of faïence. Highly artistic in quality and larger in size, the latter shows the sovereign with the regal nemes headdress, the usekh pectoral as well as wide bracelets on his wrists, dotted with cobalt blue on a ground lapis lazuli. These shabtis, discovered in 1817 by Belzoni in the pharaoh’s tomb along with hundreds of other specimens, were created to be resuscitated magically through the formula written on their bodies - Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead - responding to their owner (shabti means “answerer”) and standing in his stead in the agricultural work of the afterlife. The weeding hoes in the ruler’s hands and the sack for seeds on his shoulders served this purpose.

The Museo Civico Archeologico of Bologna
The MCA of Bologna contains the exceptional archaeological collections from the former Museo Universitario, the donated collection of painter Pelagio Palagi, and from the excavations effected in Bologna and the surrounding area between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century.

The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts
The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts

A team from the Lucida Lab Milano started the recording of J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts, in Palazzo Sturm, Bassano del Grappa's Civic Museum. Palazzo Sturm is one of the few museums in Italy dedicated to showing every aspect of Remondini’s industrial process within the 16th and 17th centuries as well as the phases in the production of books, decorated papers, religious and popular print makings, games, optical views, etchings and woodcuts.

Read more about the Lucida Lab Milano.

'Saved by the Bell!' - The Resurrection of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry
'Saved by the Bell!' - The Resurrection of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

Factum Foundation is launching a new initiative in partnership with The United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust (UKHBPT) to resurrect the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a working foundry for the 21st century. The WBF was acquired in 2017 and the manufacture of the bells which have continuously been made at the site since the reign of Elizabeth I ceased.

The Factum Foundation & UKHBPT proposal presents an innovative vision for the future of one of the United Kingdom's finest cultural and heritage assets, bringing internationally renowned artists and craftspeople together with the local community in an endeavour to ensure its future as an economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially engaged space. The aim of the proposal document is to convince the current owners of the building, Raycliffe Whitechapel LLP, either to participate in the resurrection of the WBF, or to sell the property to allow this to happen.

Read the full proposal, prepared by Skene Catling de la Peña.

Factum Arte's profile, by Patek Philippe
Factum Arte's profile, by Patek Philippe

"The idea really is something like the old renaissance workshops where people with many different skills, work to pursue a common goal." In his interview by Patek Philippe Magazine, Adam Lowe talks about Factum Arte, Factum Foundation, the creative energy that animates the workshops and the contemporary artists, artisans and secular masterpieces that run them.

To know more about the articulation of this unique place where artists, technicians and artisans join their passions and experiment with cutting-edge technologies, like art students in a playground, you can watch this video and read the corresponding article published by Patek Philippe Magazine.

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