About the 2019 Statutes

Text by Prof. dr. F. Rinaudo

For a scientific committee like CIPA-HD, the Statutes are of fundamental importance because they regulate the way research and dissemination activities are developed. The Statutes cannot be untouchable tool. They must adapt to new situations that the advancement of knowledge proposes to new research habits of its members and to improve the ways in which the tasks entrusted can be performed. After the reform of the Statutes, which took place at the beginning of the 21st century, CIPA-HD approved in 2019
new Statutes which, adapting to the recent ICOMOS directives, revolutionized its organization, trying to propose new forms of participation and an opening towards new forms of collaboration among the members.

The most important novelty introduced by the new Statutes is the modality of participation within the committee. Two categories of members have been defined: regular members and expert members (in addition to honorary members and supporting members). The expert members elect the Executive Committee within which the President, the Secretary General, two vice presidents, the coordinators of the three permanent commissions, set up to replace the working groups that had demonstrated a certain difficulty of action, and the webmaster. All members can propose and support initiatives related to the aims of CIPA-HD both locally and internationally: workshops,
summer schools, webinars, etc.

The three permanent commissions have the role to manage the active life of the CIPA-HD committee: Application of Recording, Documentation, and Information Management for Cultural Heritage – Technologies for Cultural Heritage Geometric Documentation – Education and Dissemination. It will be the responsibility of all CIPA-HD members to judge whether the new statute will bring the expected
results and to propose amendments and adjustments to the rapid evolution of technologies and requests from the world of Cultural Heritage documentation. Now is the time to read the new Statutes of CIPA-HD:

Virtual Reality and the Lockdown

Longread by Prof. Dr. Minna Silver (4 to 5 minutes)

The world has changed from the beginning of the new decade 2020, when the pandemic COVID-19 known as the corona virus has spread to different continents with unexpected consequences.

The world has vividly appeared to be a more vulnerable place for humankind than earlier in modern times has been expected as even the superpowers do not find remedies and answers to the problems. People in many countries are locked in their homes, in restricted areas, and boarders have been closed. Who could have imagined this scenario a half a year ago? But in the lockdown people have found ways to contact each other and keep their routines, although there has been considerable down shifting. Many have become new “Robinson Crusoes” in their environment. Cultural heritage has value as itself, and now its value has been especially recognized to bring special delight, sharing it and keeping one in a good mental health in the lockdown.

The developments in digital documentation and enhanced ways to approach spaces and places with virtual reality can now be seen as a special blessing, when there is not easy access to sites. Previously wars, environmental disasters or political barriers have prevented the access to some places. Now we are imprisoned in our own environments. When one cannot move and visit different sites, the value of recording and documentation of history, sites and monuments for research and tourism will be appreciated in a different way. For research the accuracy of data capture and the increase of open ways to share the data have become more imminent needs. Virtual tourism actualizes and brings delight finding new visitors to experience the sites that are not accessible. CyArk has been in the forefront in recording world heritage sites in 3D and bringing them to be viewed.

Rome Reborn, Courtesy Bernard Fischer.

For school children and students virtual reality provides an extra dimension for learning about spaces and sites for their studies from home if the schools and universities are closed. Serious games can offer another window to the cultural heritage and virtual worlds. As far as the visits to the museums are concerned, several exhibitions have been opened virtually – even the launches of recorded concerts, operas and ballets have been extended to the world wide web. NASA has provided a way to dive virtually in the coral reef and map it. Wrecks can be also visited in virtual diving http://victory1744.org/

One year ago I participated in an expert meeting in Copenhagen to bring cultural heritage to smart cities, and it opened my eyes to new ways to integrate cultural heritage into the streets. We can now in the lockdown see the need and appreciation of the development of smart cities that are taking cultural heritage into account. Shared cultural heritage provides unity locally and globally in these challenging times. A recently published book Digital Cities: Between History and Archaeology by Maurizio Forte and Helena Murteira (ed.), by Oxford University Press (2020), addresses some of these issues.

Historical cities can make various layers of sites in the past visible and approachable in virtual ways and in this way provide timescapes. There are already various examples to bring sites visually to mobile devices like smart phones or to have little kiosks with screens or virtual glasses/headsets (possibly taking into account the augmented reality) here and there to study and experience a particular spot from different time dimensions and various angles. 3D provides a possibility to immersive experience with goggles or virtual glasses.

For a timescape let’s look at the Rome Reborn project https://www.romereborn.org/  led by Professor Bernard Fischer. I used to study the Cultural Change of Late Antiquity and the time of Emperor Constantine the Great in Rome in the 1980s. Then we as young researchers in a cultural institute did not have personal computers yet and could not much imagine that one day one could provide the changes in the topography of Rome in a digital form. Television could have provided some ideas in an analogue form, but Professor Fischer tells that he already had this idea of virtual Rome in mind in the 1970s.

Now one can visit Rome of AD 320 virtually and see how the city topographically looked like and observe changes. In some extent these kinds of reconstructions entail interpretation and can never fully reach reality; this also concerns archaeological reconstructions in general. But they offer us a valuable dimension to the past, although not replacing it. They just provide another dimension and possibility to experience space and time. One may have extra wishes in texturing and visualizing the building materials, but it all requires more studies of individual buildings, work, time and money. In any event, the Rome Reborn project deserves appreciation in grasping the space and the topography. Now we have a possibility to get some idea of a layer of Roman history in a time capsule and fly over the “eternal city” in the heyday of Late Antiquity.

CIPA workshop „Research and Education in Urban History in the Age of Digital Libraries“ 2019 – A summary

The junior research group UrbanHistory4D hosted the workshop „Research and Education in Urban History in the Age of Digital Libraries“ under the patronage of CIPA on 10-11 October 2019 in Dresden. Organized by Florian Niebling (Würzburg), Heike Messemer (Würzburg) and Sander Münster (Dresden) it was a joint international event of the University of Würzburg and the Technical University Dresden. The workshop took place at the Deutsche Hygiene-Museum in Dresden and was co-located with the Time Machine Conference.

After the first successful workshop of the junior research group in March 2017, this year two workshop sessions offered the opportunity to focus on different aspects of the overarching topic:

Collections of images, film and visual media in general were the focal point of the projects presented in the first session, chaired by Florian Niebling, project manager of UrbanHistory4D. The presentations showed the varied bandwidth of research questions connected to media repositories.

Seyran Khademi (TU Delft) and Ronald Siebes (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) introduced ArchiMediaL, a collaborative project of architectural historians and computer scientists, researching on the automatic recognition of architectural and urban forms in visual digital media.

The joint presentation of Francesca Condorelli (Politecnico di Torino) and Ferdinand Maiwald (TU Dresden, UrbanHistory4D) clearly showed a productive collaboration between the two scholars, bringing together different approaches of photogrammetric methods in the context of image and film archives.

A new concept of a critical digital model for the study of unbuilt architecture was introduced by Fabrizio I. Apollonio (Università di Bologna). He argued that via an objective reconstruction of two-dimensional reference drawings as visual part of a 3D model, the latter can show hypotheses in a less subjective way than with conventional methods.

Jonas Bruschke (Universität Würzburg, UrbanHistory4D) showed how a user study was created and realized to find out the most suitable visualization methods in regard to visualize characteristics of collections of historical photographs.

Macintosh HD:Users:heikemessemer:Documents:Jobs:Uni_Würzburg_TU_Dresden:UHDL_Workshop:2019:Submissions:UHDL2019_submissions_1-13_2019-10-01_12_25:DSC_7913.jpg

In the second part of the workshop, chaired by Mathias Hofman (TU Dresden), project manager of UrbanHistory4D, especially projects aiming at research on specific urban contexts were in the focus.

So Julia Noordegraaf (Universiteit van Amsterdam) offered insight into the Amsterdam Time Machine. Their aim is to provide a GIS of the 19th and early 20th century of the city of Amsterdam. The Houses of different centuries are automatically 3D reconstructed using the shapes of the parcels of land and the height of the buildings to form schematic 3D models. In combination with information on the functions of the houses it is possible to trace the past of cultural centres in Amsterdam.

Stemming from the Venice Time Machine, Andrea Giordano (Università degli Studi di Padova) presented the further development of the project now focusing on visualizing cities. Aimed at providing interactive, semantic 3D models of urban structures, they use the still quite new method of HistoricBIM (Building Information Modeling).

Piotr Kuroczyński (Hochschule Mainz) focused on the data management in and documentation of 3D projects of historical architecture, exemplified in a project for the state exhibition in Mainz in 2020/2021. It aims at the digital 3D reconstruction of the cities of Worms, Mainz and Speyer in the time of 800 A.D. and 1200 A.D. and presenting them in an adequate way to the public, taking into account to inform the public about uncertainties in the underlying data and the resulting visualizations.

A user study was presented by Cindy Kröber (TU Dresden, UrbanHistory4D), offering a deep insight in how potential users can be involved to develop a digital research tool for (art) historians. The functionalities and usability of the 4D Browser created by the junior research group UrbanHistory4D was examined by participants of the study, providing valuable input to enlarge and improve the functions of the 4D Browser.

The audience, coming from all over Europe, was passionate about the topics of the workshop as the discussions after the presentations clearly showed. The intimate atmosphere – in comparison to the large hall of the Time Machine Conference upstairs in the same building – proved to be the perfect setting to exchange views on how to deal with digital projects in the context of cultural heritage and to create innovative ideas, enriching the topic of the workshop.