The Aura in the Age of Digital Materiality
Adam Lowe is the director of Factum Arte and founder of Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation. He was trained in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing in Oxford and the RCA London. In the mid 1990’s Lowe established a print workshop in London dedicated to the production of pigment transfer prints that blurred the boundry between image and form.
A collection of essays for Factum Foundation
Digital technologies are profoundly changing how we relate to art, from the ways in which we access and display objects to how we safeguard, restore, archive and even possess them.
The Aura in the Age of Digital Materiality explores themes emerging from the unprecedented potential of meeting between digital technology and cultural heritage at a time when we are being forced to fundamentally rethink what we value, how and why. It brings together recent projects by Factum and a wonderfully diverse collection of essays, many written especially for this book, by collaborators and friends. Their widely different backgrounds and disciplines only illustrate the importance of this subject and the huge range of its relevance. Contributors include Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum; Mari Lending, the author of Plaster Monuments: Architecture and the Power of Reproduction; Nadja Aksamija, Professor of Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture at Wesleyan University; Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves; Pullitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers; Shirley Djukurna Krenak, Indigenous activist from the Upper Xingu; philosophers Bruno Latour, Brian Cantwell Smith and Alva Noë; Simon Schaffer, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge; architect Charlotte Skene Catling; Jerry Brotton, specialist in cartography and the Renaissance; and Chiara Cadarin, Director of the Musei Civici di Bassano del Grappa.
Our world is at a crossroad. Not only are people at risk, but our cultural heritage is under threat from lack of resources, natural disasters, climate change, terrorism, mass tourism and war. There has never been a more critical time to use technology for preservation. If these high-resolution methods had been used to record Aleppo before it was flattened, the size of Nimrud or the Bamyan Buddhas before they were blown up, or Notre Dame before it burned, these examples of human creativity would not have been so completely lost forever. When Dresden was bombed, only photographs and memories remained. In the 21st century, we have the technological means to do so much: we urgently need to act now to record and preserve our cultural heritage for future generations. This book it is a thoughtful and provocative call to action.
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