September has been an important month in terms of refining the collaboration of the different teams involved in the ARCHiOx project. Andrew Irving (Senior Systems Architect), John Barrett (Bodleian's Senior Photographer), Nikoleta Sulekova (Project Portfolio Administrator) and Richard Allen (Software Engineer) from the Bodleian worked alongside different members of the Factum team in the Madrid workshops to work on both hardware and software developments.
On December 5th, ARCHiOx will be holding a public event at the Bodleian Libraries to celebrate what happens when high-resolution 3D recording technologies are focused on the material culture of books. New discoveries will be shared for the first time at this event and a panel of experts will discuss how ARCHiOx recordings have supported their research. The Gough Map, the Rawlinson copper plates collection, a selection of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and examples of ‘Insular Manuscripts’ dating from the 8th and 9th centuries will all be explored and discussed.
Bodleian originals will be displayed alongside high-resolution images and facsimiles in the Centre for Digital Scholarship following the presentations.
Over the past weeks a team from Factum Foundation has been conducting a training programme in digital heritage documentation, focusing on photogrammetry, for participants from EMOWAA (Edo Museum of West African Art) and NCMM (National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria).
In the first week, the training was hosted by the Nigerian National Museum in Lagos; the second week was arranged inside the National Museum Benin City. Both institutions hold significant collections of material from the Benin Kingdom. Objects digitised included bronze plaques and heads, wooden and terracotta heads, and other ceremonial regalia.
The aim of the training was to establish a team of digital heritage specialists enabled to carry out recording projects both in Nigeria and on projects abroad. At the end of January 2023, participants in the training will be recording artefacts held at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge.
Factum Foundation has been working with the Musei Capitolini and Fondazione Prada on the ambitious recreation of the 13m-tall Colossus of Constantine for the exhibition 'Recycling Beauty' (until February 27, 2023). The scale of the project involved almost all of Factum's various areas of expertise over the course of nearly ten months.
By the end of next year, there will be two versions of this vast sculpture: one in Rome and the other in Bishop Auckland, as Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in York on AD 306.
Factum Foundation has published a new book titled The Bakor Monoliths: Preserving Ancestral Stones in South-Eastern Nigeria, which explores the cultural significance and preservation challenges of the Bakor monoliths in Cross River State, Nigeria.
The result of six years of work and collaboration with several Nigerian and international partners, it is the first book dedicated to the subject since Philip Allison's 1968 Cross River Monoliths.
At a time when the world's attention is on the return of the Benin bronzes, it aims to provide a platform for debate about the practical issues of restitution in a region of Nigeria that has been historically marginalised. It is hoped that the book will contribute to the case for registering the monolith sites as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Factum Foundation's work on the Bakor monoliths is generously supported by the Carène Foundation.
Factum Foundation and Factum Arte worked with Fondazione Palazzo Te on recreating five designs by Giulio Romano as physical objects for the exhibition 'Giulio Romano. La forza delle cose' at Palazzo Te (October 8th, 2022 - January 8th, 2023). The intricate drawings were rematerialised as 3D models before being 3D printed in sections and cast in a variety of materials depending on the size and complexity of their details.
ARCHiVe held its six-monthly meeting on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its core funder Lady Helen Hamlyn and two members of her advisory board, Sarah Thomas and Lady Katherine Gavron. ARCHiVe Online Academy is thriving; a new website is being finalised; a regular online publication is being prepared; the recording of the Cini’s rich heritage of books and paintings continues and the full-time team working in Venice is growing.
ARCHiVe also became a creative producer with La Maschera del Tempo, a digital video artwork created by Mattia Casalegno and sound artist Martux_m, that premiered on September 29th. The artwork, commissioned by ARCHiVe, integrates the data acquired during the recordings of the Teatro Verde, carried out by Pedro Miró, Oscar Parasiego and Imran Khan in 2022, with image processing using machine learning software.
Ilenia Maschietto (right) and Renata Codello (left) showing the lost page of the Fables of Aesop restored into its original book to Lady Helen Hamlyn in October 2022
© Adam Lowe
Factum Foundation worked with Gaby Wood at the Booker Prize Foundation to reinstate, for the first time in decades, the original Booker Prize Trophy in memory of its creator, the beloved children’s author and illustrator Jan Pieńkowski, who died in February this year.
The trophy was originally commissioned by Booker Prize founder Tom Maschler from Jan Pieńkowski, who based it on an art deco lamp he found in a junk shop in Portobello Market.
The original Booker Prize trophy was recorded at ARCHiOx by John Barrett and Ferdinand Saumarez Smith. It was kindly lent for the 3D recording by P.H. Newby’s daughter, Sarah Schenk, The original trophy was over 60cm tall but a reduced version was 3D printed at a more manageable 38cm and was awarded by the Queen Consort to Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka at the 2022 ceremony.
Factum Foundation is starting a new collaboration in Genoa with Fondazione Friends of Genova to help the preservation and dissemination of the city's unique cultural heritage. Last week, Carlos Bayod Lucini, Gabriel Scarpa, Carolina Gris and Marina Luchetti recorded two paintings by Rubens and Tintoretto, while several other collaborations are being planned.
The 500-year-old Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Britain’s oldest manufacturing company where the Liberty Bell and Big Ben bell were cast, is up for sale. As announced on Spitalfields Life on October 5th, the American developers who had bought the purpose-built bell foundry to turn it into a boutique hotel are now trying to sell the building in Whitechapel as a gallery space with luxury catering. It is a great tragedy to see traditional, living craftsmanship and a Grade II listed building being destroyed at the behest of a commercial property sale.
Traditional bell-making is flagship example of the incredible living cultural heritage that beats at the heart the UK. Factum Foundation and Re:Form have evidenced that this living craft has a function in the modern era by creating the London Bell Foundry and successfully making bells with world-renowned contemporary artists such as Grayson Perry, Paula Crown and Conrad Shawcross. As well as a commissioned bell project with an artist in Mexico that will result in two large bells. With discussions of a new bell for a public monument in Buenos Aires. This confirms the irrational and nonsensical nature of this sale. Will sensible decisions be made on the grounds that the Whitechapel Bell Foundry’s optimum value lies in the fact that it is a bell foundry?