Anthropology and Photography 2014 (1)

British Museum, Clore Centre, 29-31 May 2014

(P24)

'Opaque' Imaging Technology in Anthropology and Museum Practice

Location Studio
Date and Start Time 30 May, 2014 at 09:30

Convenors

Giulia Battaglia (EHESS/Paris 3)  email
Arnaud Dubois (University College London)  email
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Short Abstract

In what way is photography integral part of anthropology and museum practices? This panel brings together anthropologists, curators, object-analysts and museum experts to question the transparency of imaging technology. It reflects on the environment in which images are produced and consumed.

Long Abstract

Inspired by Louis Marin's (1989) concept of « opacité » and Cristina Grasseni's (2007) idea of « skilled vision », in this panel we question the transparency of imaging technology and reflect on their materiality. We are interested in discussing images in relation to the environment in which they are produced and consumed and to the practice of looking that the same images embed. Accordingly, we ask: to what extent is photography becoming integral part of the discipline anthropology and museum practices at large? What is (not) representable and how is it (re)presented?

In this panel, we seek to explore these questions through a dialogue between anthropologists, curators, analysts of artefacts and various museum experts coming from different departments. We aim to bring images and objects in context and reflect on the relationship between technology and environment, images and objects/subjects in both anthropology and museum practice. In particular, we would like to draw attention to the potential and limitations of novel imaging technologies advanced in new museums, such as for instance the Musée du quai Branly, and the way in which these technologies intersect with anthropological research.

Cited References:

Grasseni, Cristina. (ed.). 2007. Skilled Visions: Between Apprenticeship and Standards. Vol. 6. Berghahn Books.

Marin, Louis. 1989. Opacité de la Peinture. Editions de l'EHESS, Paris, 2006.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

« Opacité » and « Skilled vision »

Authors: Giulia Battaglia (EHESS/Paris 3) email
Arnaud Dubois (University College London) email

Short Abstract

In what way is photography integral part of anthropology and museum practices? This paper will reflect on the transparency of imaging technology and the environment in which images are produced and consumed.

Long Abstract

Inspired by Louis Marin's (1989) concept of « opacité » and Cristina Grasseni's (2007) idea of « skilled vision », in this paper we question the transparency of imaging technology and reflect on their materiality. We will discuss images in relation to the environment in which they are produced and consumed and to the practice of looking that the same images embed. Accordingly, we ask: to what extent is photography becoming integral part of the discipline anthropology and museum practices at large? What is (not) representable and how is it (re)presented?

New 3D visualization platform

Author: Christophe Moulherat (Musée du quai Branly) email

Short Abstract

To bring the latest technological innovations in the service of knowledge and conservation works, the Musée du Quai Branly has a new 3D visualization platform.

Long Abstract

To bring the latest technological innovations in the service of knowledge and conservation works, the Musée du Quai Branly has a new 3D visualization platform. This simple, easy-to-use viewer provides, accurate and powerful 2D/3D examinations of data acquire by CT scans.

This new technology was acquired primarily with the objective of better understanding of the works and spoke to a scientific audience. But it also has some interest in museography and mediation and then address a wider audience.

One tension in Museum Studies is between preservation of artifacts and research, which may require intrusive methods. With this platform, artifacts can be scanned and investigated without altering the original material and detailed information about internal structure can be gathered, analyzed, and shared quickly.

We can then autonomously operate data generated by CT scans.

The platform give us the opportunity to study the hitherto unsuspected collections of heritage:

- In the field of conservation: digital archiving with ability to view and analyze remote parts.

- In the field of museum: presentation of collections using revolutionary 3D imaging technologies.

- In the field of restoration: accurate knowledge of the volume (interior and exterior) of a scanned piece to better understand and anticipate its restoration.

- Reconciliation of skills: curators, conservators, anthropologists but also radiologists, anatomists and pathologists will be able to work with a common tool without recourse to the original piece.

- Provision of objects in digital form.

The museum in music and photography

Author: Candice Chenu (Musée du quai Branly) email

Short Abstract

As one of the persons in charge for the development of new technology at the public department of the Musée du quai Branly, I propose to discuss a new project on smart phone applications, called « Le musée en musique », launched in February 2014.

Long Abstract

For this panel I propose to discuss a project called « Le musée en musique » created at the Musée du quai Branly. This project has been designed for a general public and it is about V2NFC smart phone applications. I will discuss what kinds of opportunities this platform creates for visitors through the use of digital zooms, do-it-yourself picture albums, and enigma-games in social networks. Specifically, I will analyse a device called « gestographe » which allows visitors to create ideogrammes of their body movement as if they were playing the musical instrument. The final aim is to demonstrate how visitors can experience an unusual participatory journey inside the museum and reflect around the problematic of gesture and photography at large.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.