Building with Symbols

Factum Foundation is proud to announce a new exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, London, on Soane's relationship with Freemasonry. The exhibition Soane's Ark: Building with Symbols will be on display from October 11th 2017 to January 21st 2018. The centrepiece is a reconstruction of Soane's 'Ark of the Masonic Covenant', a piece of ritual furniture built in 1813 but lost in a fire in 1883. The exhibition will also include a selection of Masonic artworks, books and objects from Soane's collection aimed at reconstructing the network of meaning in which the Ark existed.

The reconstruction of the Ark is being carried out by Master Woodcarvers Houghtons of York and is generously supported by the United Grand Lodge of England to mark the tercentenary of the establishment of Freemasonry in London in 1717. An accompanying catalogue is being published by Factum Foundation.

Xingu Heritage

A team from Factum Foundation has just returned from the upper Xingu region of the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, where they participated in People’s Palace Projects collaboration with the indigenous filmmaker Takuma Kuikuro. Factum’s team made a complete LiDAR scan of Takuma’s village, Ipatse, photogrammetric recordings of human artefacts and features of the natural environment using a drone. The work is intended to contribute both to Takuma’s filmmaking and Ipatse’s planned cultural centre in the nearest town, Canarana. 

Recording at Ferapontov Monastery

Following a long journey to a landscape of pristine lakes and forests in northern Russia, the 11th of May marked the beginning of a three-month recording session at the Ferapontov Monastery, a UNESCO world heritage site. Teams from Factum and the Peri Foundation are working every evening in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin to photograph over six-hundred square meters of frescoes painted in 1502 by the renowned icon painter Dionisy. High up on a wheeled platform, which will eventually reach more than ten meters for the recording of Christ in the cupola, Peri and Factum photographers have already captured a number of scenes from the southern wall, including the miracle of St Nicholas expelling the devil from a fantastical tree in bright ochres and reds, and light greens. After data processing, the high-resolution 'snapshot’ will aid the monastery museum in its ongoing conservation effort to maintain the delicate condition of the frescoes and will also provide an invaluable resource to historians of Russian and Byzantine art around the world. 

True Copies

Jeffrey Brown from PBS NewsHour visited Factum last March to learn more about our work both at Factum Arte and the Foundation. His piece focuses on our approach to understanding and preserving the integrity of cultural objects and heritage. Click here to watch the video.

Seti I update

The Foundation is now producing a facsimile of the tomb of Seti I in Madrid, which will be part of an exhibition at the Antikenmuseum in Basel next fall focusing on the various efforts to restore, preserve and study Seti I. The re-creation will incorporate the fragments of the tomb recorded during the last past two months at institutions such as the Louvre, the British Museum, the Archeological Museum in Florence, and the Pergamon Museum.

Click here to read a full report on work carried-out in 2016 in Egypt.

Podcast "Traditional and Digital Artisans Meet"

Adam Lowe presented a talk at Project Space Art Jameel in Dubai entitled Traditional and Digital Artisans Meet, exploring the ways in which new technologies are being used in both architectural conservation and contemporary art. Using Stoppelaëre House in Egypt as a case study in technology transfer, training, and the use of non-invasive means for preservation, the discussion focuses on the importance of sustainable tourism. The talk also describes a more recent collaboration with Art Jameel, training students at the Jameel House of Traditional Arts (Jeddah) techniques in scanning and documenting the architectural heritage of Al-Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3D model of the statue of Idrimi

The statue of Idrimi, a refugee from Aleppo who rose to become the king of Alalakh in southern Turkey 3,500 years ago, was recorded and scanned last February at the British Museum. A 3D model of the recorded data is now available on Sketchfab. The Factum Foundation will make a facsimile of the statue and donate it to to the UK charity Making-Light to be part of its exhibition Syria Past and Present. The statue of Idrimi has never left the British Museum because of conservation concerns.

Click on the link to read a review of the project published on Current Archeology.

Recording Qut paintings in Asir, Saudi Arabia.

The Foundation, working with Art Jameel, has been on a fact finding mission that has involved the recording of some of the remaining examples of the delicate and discrete qut wall paintings. This image from Rijal Alma was recorded just before rebuilding was about to take place. As the country modernises and builds, the preservation of the remaining evidence of its deep cultural history is of great importance. Ali Moghawi was the guide for the visit. As always, in depth local knowledge is critical to an understanding of the specific challenges facing the protection of cultural heritage in the region. The artist Ahmed Mater accompanied Adam Lowe, Gabriel Scrapa and James Macmillan Scott and provided a unique insight into the needs of contemporary artists in the region.

Recording in Jeddah

Factum Foundation’s Pedro Miró and Otto Lowe traveled to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), as part of a pilot project with Art Jameel documenting vernacular architecture and training Saudi students in photogrammetry for cultural heritage preservation. During their time there, they recorded the surface of three traditional buildings in the old city by taking more than a 3,000 photographs at each site using both photogrammetry and the Faro Focus laser scanner. Preliminary processing demonstrates both the precision and adaptability of these two technologies. They also recorded trained students from Jameel House of Traditional Arts located in Al Balad, Jeddah and practiced recording architectural details details with them. 

A new book scanner in Daghestan

With the support of the Peri Foundation, the new Factum Foundation book scanner was installed  at the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography (IHAE) in Makhachkala (Dagestan). The IHAE will start using this scanner to record their collection of over 3000 Islamic manuscripts, but this transfer of technology marks only the beginning of a long-term project that will eventually see the digitisation of an estimated 25,000 manuscripts held by private individuals, mosques, and madrasas in the region. Whilst the Factum team were in Makhachkala, Shamil Gadzhidadaev and Gennady Viktorov, two Dagestani photographers who learned 3D digital recording at Factum Arte (Madrid) in 2016, were themselves training two new photographers for another Peri/Factum project that will take place in northern Russia this summer. 

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