September 2015

The American Friends of Factum Foundation is now registered in the US and is getting a 501(C)(3). The aim of the American Friends will be to allow those residents of the United States who wish to find out about and support the work of Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation to do so.
The workshops are full of things that will be on show in London during Frieze week. We never know what will be in the fair but we are working on piece a for Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq that will be installed in Embassy Gardens and two bronze works for the Haas Brothers that will be installed in Rosewood Hotel. Marc Quinn’s sculptures in stainless steel will be moving from the White Cube to Somerset House.
The Factum Foundation is leading the way in defining what is possible with 3D recording (Can 3D recording help preserve threatened sites in Syria and Iraq?, Apollo Magazine).
Paolina Borghese will be in glass by the end of the month, Factum space underneath Andrew Edmunds Print Shop will be open by the end of October and many other things are in process-perhaps too many.   |


The Cochno Stone

Following the partial ‘unearthing’ of the Cochno Stone both Historic Scotland and West Dunbartonshire Council have given Factum Foundation permission to start searching for money to fund the complete uncovering, 3D scanning, safe reburial and production of a replica of the Cochno Stone, thought to be the finest example of Neolithic cup-and-ring markings in the world. The level of interest from the local community was huge and from many quite impassioned. Most memorable of all was a comment by a man who grew up on an estate nearby and proved to be a mine of stories about the stone and the surrounding area – he left saying ‘I came up here to find the past and I found the future’. The stone was buried in 1964 because of the threat of vandalism from people in the local estates. The test excavation confirmed the presence of significant graffiti and we expect to find more. But the tragedy of the situation is that the removal of an object of the cultural and historical importance of the Cochno stone and the denial of local responsibility for its preservation actually helps to make the problems worse. The whole landscape is clearly an ancient centre of great importance and after the test dig we feel sure that we will soon be uncovering the whole stone, making accessible an important Neolithic monument for study and returning a sense of pride to the local community.
Image: Perhaps the most articulate facsimile would be to re-create the stone complete with the white markings painted onto the surface by Ludovic Maclellan Mann in 1937, to elevate the original markings above the modern graffiti as well as to recognise the outdated practises of past archaeologists.


Museo Cerralbo. Virtual tapestry restoration

Ana Schoebel from Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España and Isabel Fernandez who was until recently Head of conservation at the Real Fábrica de Tapices visited Factum Arte last week to look at the work that is being done on a verdure tapestry from the C18th in the Museo Cerralbo. The sense of excitement was palpable as they inspected the digital recording and digital restoration work that is being carried out by Blanca Nieto, Carlos Bayod, Gabriel Scarpa and Anna Paola Ferrara. The digital restoration will not only consist of virtual repairs of all the previous hole filling and restorations – it will go further and will use samples identified on the back of the tapestry (that has been protected from direct sunlight) to re-colour the front of the tapestry so that it can be studied in depth on a specially designed browser. The connection between digital technology and weaving was first explored in the popular exhibition Penelope’s Labour at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in 2011 (curated by Jerry Brotton and Adam Lowe). We remain excited by the potential of tapestry both in terms of making works for contemporary artists but also to facilitate and enhance a meaningful understanding of this important but often overlooked artform. We are now going to work together with Ana and Isabel to develop a collaboration aimed at establishing a standard approach that will bridge between manual restoration methods and non-contact virtual restoration techniques.


Exciting Print innovations

After several months of experimentation, design innovation and testing, Arthur Prior has developed a technique for creating mezzotint printing plates using computer automated machine tools. The set-up consists of a CNC milling machine fitted with a custom spring-loaded tool and a misting system that prevents the burnisher from over-heating. Alongside this experimentation with tone and pressure is the work that Constanza Dessain is doing with tone and relief in the form of digitally routed Woodburytype prints with a tactile surface. After running tests for Henry Hudson we are now starting work on a series of these prints. Also working with the relationship between relief and image are a series of intaglio prints produced by Michael Ward from 3D scans of a human brain recorded in the Brain Bank in London. This project for Dillwyn Smith, 'Silvering the Cerebrum' will go on exhibition at The Street Gallery, University College London Hospital. Opening on the 29th September it will run until the 19th November.

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