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Lasting Impressions 2019: Speaker Programme Announcement

This year's study day will be taking place at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford on 28th June 2019.

The Lasting Impressions team is delighted to announce the speaker programme for the 2019 study day, the theme of which is "making and re-making the replica". Please note that this programme is subject to change.

Panel One: Embodied Knowledge

1040: KATE JOHNSON: University of Bradford

Mould Making, Materials and Casting in 'Project code-named Humpty' - a contemporary art and archaeological science collaboration

"This presentation reveals the mould making and casting processes and materials needed to physically replicate a 2.7m tall figurative sculpture, free sculpted in clay by Johnson, specifically for the purpose of deliberate fragmentation and subsequent reconstruction.

‘Project code-named Humpty’ [P c-n H] is an ambitious art/sci piece [commencing in 2014], whose story centres on the manual creation of a monumental sculpture, its ceremonial fragmentation and subsequent physical and virtual reconstruction by archaeologists. As an artwork, the piece explores themes of human object interactions and object histories themselves. As science, it serves as a vehicle to further archaeological practice in the development of the latest visualisation and digital fragment refitting technologies.

In this presentation, Johnson shows how the unusual narrative intention of creating specifically for destruction and reconstruction has fuelled unorthodoxy in piece mould construction, casting material development and casting rig set-up. The presentation showcases documentary photographs, film and physical artefacts.

Additionally, questions emerge about which form is the ‘original’ when replication is needed for the ‘original’ to be ‘useful’, and further, and in relation to P c-n H, can indeed the terms ‘original’ and ‘replication’ be used if an artwork is the very history of a form?"

1100: SANTA JANSONE: University of Latvia

Late Iron Age Baltic Costume Replicas – Assumptions, Experiments and Practice

"The role of dress is one of the most important as it holds a lot of information about its wearer. In historic and ethnographic literature dress has long been recognized as an indicator of group affinity. Within the group, dress is one of the most important ways to indicate the rank or status of the wearer. There are a lot of information out there on Baltic dress, but not all can be regarded reliable.

The aim of this paper is to compare some of scientific reconstructions with the available knowledge from graves and analyse how they can be compared and what are biggest flaws during doing this. Which assumptions and maybe even prejudices can influence such conclusions? What are main difficulties which are met when making such replicas? Also some of the practical experience while wearing different reconstructions has been analysed and demonstrated (by means of photos) as well as some insights in process of making different pieces of costume (from own experience). Included in paper is also poll results on practical aspects collected from different people, while wearing different reconstructions- in some case even different reconstructions of one costume."

1120: LAURA DUDLEY: University of Leicester

'Action Sculpture': An exploration into the motivations for restaging Robert Morris's exhibition 'Bodyspacemotionthings' at Tate Modern in 2009, and the insights this has given to the field of contemporary exhibition histories

"My PhD project, titled: From Re-Construction to Co-Production: the past and present authorship of participatory art exhibitions, explores the reconstruction of art exhibitions, which in their original form had a participatory element. A key question is concerned with the role which public reception and engagement plays in the re-activation of an historical art exhibition, and how its materiality and outcomes are reconstructed in a contemporary museum landscape.

This paper aims to cast a lens on Robert Morris’s bodyspacemotionthings, an exhibition reconstruction which drew media and public attention at both its original opening in 1971, and for its reconstruction at Tate Modern as part of the UBS Openings: Long Weekend in 2009. Tate curator, Kathy Noble described the exhibition as ‘exploring ideas of spatial awareness, of becoming aware of yourself, your own body, as a physical object in space’ (2009). The original 1971 exhibition had only lasted for four days before being closed, due to the structures and materials used to construct the platforms - which the public were invited to climb, balance and crawl onto - giving way. As time has passed this initial failure has in many ways become the triumph of this participatory exhibition. Its memorably premature closure is one of the factors which led to its reconstruction in 2009, this time with new materials which lasted for the full exhibiting period.

In this paper I will include findings from Tate Archives concerning the 1971 and 2009 exhibitions, the material referenced will include marketing/publicity material, installations plans, curatorial notes and original photography. I plan to use these findings to interrogate key ideas within my paper, specifically focusing on whether changing the materials alters the authenticity of this exhibition, and how this impacts on conventional attitudes towards the authorship of past canonical participatory exhibitions."

Panel Two: Layering Process

1200: MICHAEL ANN BEVIVINO: University College Dublin

Truly Immaterial? Using Applied Technologies to Investigate the Historic Plaster Casts of
the National Museum of Ireland

"It is now largely accepted that digital replicas such as 3D models are a continuation of a trend of replication that can trace its roots from the history of physical reproductions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when collections of plaster casts and other reproductions were created en masse across Europe and other parts of the world. After these analogue reproductions fell from favour in the mid-twentieth century, many are now starting to be viewed with a renewed enthusiasm. Ireland was no exception to the historical trend of reproducing cultural objects in the past, and indeed many Irish museums and institutions are now grappling with how to approach replicas in the digital world.

The Breaking the Mould: Replicas of Ireland’s Cultural Objects from the Historic to the Digital is a PhD based in University College Dublin in partnership with the Discovery Programme and IAFS Ltd. It seeks to take stock of the current state of historic replica collections in Ireland (such as the plaster casts held by the National Museum of Ireland) while also addressing the growth of digital replicas in the heritage sector.

This paper will focus on one of the case studies of the Breaking the Mould project. This case study, taking a selection of objects from the National Museum of Ireland’s plaster cast collection, is asking what new technologies like laser scanning and photogrammetry can bring to our understanding of a historic collection. It will specifically address the materiality of the plaster replicas in opposition to the supposed immateriality of the digital models, and how this affects our appreciation and use of the new technologies."

1220: BECKY KNOTT: Victoria and Albert Museum

Life after the Original? The social, material, and cultural value of the copy

"The value placed on copies has over time been varied, changing and subject to the whims of museum directors and collecting policies, yet reproductions in materials such as plaster, electrotypes, and photography continue to be central to museum and private collections all over the world. Today the rise of digital technologies and methods of reproduction has re-focused attention on 19th century copies and has provided a gateway through which 21st century audiences can better engage with and understand the value of the historic collections. The materials and methods of digital reproductions may differ from those used traditionally, but the debates around authenticity, copyright, and aura mirror those prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century.

This paper will reject the notion of reproductions as ‘unoriginal’ and will focus on the afterlife of the copy within the walls of the museum and beyond to the wider cultural landscape. Exploring the inherent role of reproductions as sites of material and technological innovation, tools of education, and commercial ingenuity, this paper will focus on key examples in the V&A’s copy collection to demonstrate how the value of copies lies far beyond that of its relationship to the original. The paper will also explore the ongoing relationship between the copied and the copy, and will investigate how, in contrast to popular opinion, the copy can also provide authenticity. Finally, drawing on recent 3D imaging experiments at the V&A, this paper will conclude by looking at the value of copies today and how, despite living in an ever-connected world, it is the act of copying which continues to democratise, support, and encourage material innovation."

1240: LEE ROBERT MCSTEIN: Monument Men

A Copy of a Copy? The Curious Case of the Deir el Bahari Casts

"In early 2018, Monument Men were invited by Manchester Museum to assess a number of unidentified archaeological plaster casts in the Egypt and Sudan stores with a view to a photogrammetry project.

They were scanned and researched over a couple of weeks by a team of volunteers, with a surprising result – they were identified as the complete sanctuary chapel of the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari, Luxor – originally made in the early 20th century by excavation teams there using still emerging techniques in Egyptian archaeology.

While the collection is in a very fragile state, they do provide a fascinating insight into the condition of the site in the period they were taken, with the some of the casts offering exciting potential for further scientific analysis of possible transferred pigments from the original wall decoration.

This presentation will discuss the projects evolution along with the many research questions being asked as we progress further, with considerations such as the material nature of these casts, the difference between perceived value and research potential, and how this can change when comparing archaeological plaster casts to modern digital recording methodologies."

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