In Bologna the Factum Arte operations and office were being set up last week by Adam Lowe and Gregoire Dupond. A team began the recording of the great doors of the Basilica of San Petronio (after a little hiatus as the scaffolders released the statues from their shrouds) and work continued on the digital restoration of the Bologna map from the Vatican Sala Bologna...while I was rather more prosaically participating in a conference in London.
Last week I was in Florence and one of the things that is immediately noticeable there is, yes, the numbers of tourists - we all know that and it can be very distracting. But I thought as I walked through the paved streets that this also added a dimension to a visitor's appreciation as Florence - like Genoa and Venice - must have been host to every language (nationality was, agreeably, less of an issue then) during the period of their absolute and extraordinary dominance of world trade and exchange which brought the ideas and thoughts - and money - to launch and sustain the renaissance; listening to all those tongues passing by made the bustle just a little more acceptable.
Nothing opens mind and heart like free discussion of gifted maturing individuals, coming together with their own national traditions and differing attitudes and approaches. Bernard Berenson
Over the last 250 years we have seen a dramatic advance not just in the industrialisation of our world but in the attitudes that that process has encouraged. We have developed a platform of truly amazing technology - we have created ways to communicate and mediate where nothing existed before - it has made us a better, more transparent and open world but it has also caused attitudes to change and to shift so that we see the world less as something of wonder but more as something that we can manage and something that we need to alter, to adapt to our tastes and needs. We now see nature as something we can tame, we see science as a tool not as a mystery and so when we look at our cultural heritage we want to manage and control that as well.