Lucas Giles: Reconstructing the Medieval Sta. Chiara in Naples

April 19, 2017
Lucas Giles

Lucas Giles completed the MA in Digital Art History in December 2016. His thesis examined the history of the destroyed medieval choir screen in the church of Sta. Chiara in Naples. He collaborated with students and faculty from the University of Padua to use ground penetrating radar (GPR), laser scanning, and historical BIM modeling to study the screen’s possible placement within the church. After completing his degree, he has continued to conduct research at Duke, leading a team of students who are developing a storytelling app for an architectural fragment in the Nasher Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in England, completing my undergraduate degree in 2015 in Art History and Italian at the University of Warwick. I mainly focus on medieval Italian art and architecture from the trecento, particularly from the city of Naples. This interest stems from the various exchange programs I spent in Italy allowing me to live in Naples for a year and Venice for six months. Outside of the academic sphere, I’m a keen soccer player and I love food and cooking.

Why did you choose to attend the MA in Digital Art History program?

I decided to apply for the program for two reasons: Firstly, considering my academic focus on the city of Naples, I was particularly keen to work with Professor Caroline Bruzelius whose work I had been following for a number of years. Aside from being the leading expert in my field, I was also aware that she had been exploring the use of digital technologies within the realms of art history. This was the second aspect which attracted me to the course. I felt that learning about some of these tools would not only benefit me in my own research but also stand me in good stead for life after graduation.

What is the most valuable skill or concept you have learned so far in the MA program?

I have learnt so much over a short period of time that pinpointing a specific skill is not so easy. Besides the obvious progression of my technological capabilities, I would highlight the improvement of my ability to work and share ideas with other people. Traditionally, art historians tend to live a fairly solitary existence so understanding the power of collaboration has been an important discovery. Secondly, I’ve learnt about the role that technology can play in opening up the discipline of art history to a wider audience. Embracing the digital helps to make the field more accessible whether that be in the context of the museum, in relation to academic research, or even in terms of pedagogy.

How do you see this MA advancing your career goals?

I’m still unsure about what the future holds, but I’m certain that this degree will serve me well in whatever path I choose to pursue. The core skills that I have acquired can be applied to a variety of different fields. I feel particularly prepared for a career in the museum world, as much of the training I have received has focused on trying to make cultural heritage more accessible to the public. From what I have observed, museums seem to be moving in a similar direction, so it would be great to be part of the ideological shift towards the democratization of museum spaces.

‘Prayers Long Silent’: Protecting endangered heritage in post-conflict Cyprus

April 13, 2017
The Collision Space (Smith Warehouse | Bay 10 | A266)

4:30pm

The Wired! Lab is pleased to host, in collaboration with the Computational Media Arts & Cultures Rendezvous, Michael J.K. Walsh, Associate Professor of Art History, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

“‘Prayers Long Silent’: Protecting endangered heritage in post-conflict Cyprus”

The walled city of Famagusta, Cyprus, with its French Gothic churches, exquisite 14th-century frescoes, towering Venetian walls, domed Ottoman hamams, and majestic British Imperial architecture, should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site – but it is not. Instead, as a result of the Turkish military intervention in 1974 and the ensuing political stalemate that exists to this day, the city and its heritage have become dangerously isolated – its architectural and art-historical treasures within its walls virtually forgotten.

Following the successful nomination of Famagusta to the World Monuments Fund (WMF) Watch List in 2008 and 2010, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (with the WMF and the Famagusta Municipality) led a series of international efforts to protect, stabilize and study Famagusta’s irreplaceable heritage, and in particular its extant murals. This presentation will discuss this initiative, and highlight the interdisciplinarity of the project ranging as it did from emergency mural conservation to VR reconstruction; from pedagogical projects to the intricacies of international law; from GPR mapping to 700 year old Armenian archives. The presentation will include the screening of a short documentary film produced to highlight the relationship between culture and politics, and the interface between art history and technology.

Biography

Michael J. K. Walsh F.R.S.A., FRHistS., conducted his graduate studies at the Universities of St. Andrews, Cambridge and York, before joining the Department of Archaeology and Art History at Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta. In his time there he successfully nominated the historic city of Famagusta for inclusion in the World Monuments Fund Watch List (twice) and also acted as team coordinator for the United Nations project ‘Cultural Heritage Data Collection in the northern part of Cyprus’. He has edited and co-edited four books on Famagusta, including Medieval and Renaissance Famagusta (Ashgate, 2012), Crusader to Venetian Famagusta (Central European University Press, 2014), Famagusta: Contemporary Images from an Historic City (Datz Press, 2015), and City of Empires: Ottoman and British Famagusta (CSP, 2015). A fifth book entitled Prayers Long Silent: Famagusta’s Armenian Church and the Complexity of Cypriot Heritage will be published by Palgrave MacMillan this week.

ARLIS/NA Reviews Kingdom of Sicily Database

April 5, 2017

The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database has received a review in the Art Libraries Society of North America Multimedia & Technology Reviews. Among her comments, the reviewer notes that “The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database really takes advantage of a robust search interface and linked data, both features, which have the ability to take research to the next level.”

Read the full review and experience the database for yourself!

Upcoming Duke & Wired! Events

March 23, 2017

We in the lab are excited about the range of conversations happening around digital humanities at Duke this spring! Here are some of the upcoming events that feature Wired! Lab scholars:

Monday, March 20th

Munch & Mull Duke Libraries Discussion Group
Unconventional Curriculum — Encouraging students’ scholarly use of images
12:00-1:00pm – Lee Sorensen
(Murthy Digital Studio, Bostock Library)

Friday, March 24th

“Humanities at Large” Visiting Faculty Fellows Conference
Transforming Pedagogy: How can we best engage undergraduate students in the process of research and the production of knowledge in the Humanities?
1:00-2:30pm – Sheila Dillon & Elizabeth Langridge-Noti
(Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, 153 Rubenstein Library)

What is the future of digital humanities?
This event will feature speakers on the topical issue of digital humanities and its ramifications for the future direction of Comparative Literature studies.
2:30-5:30pm – Valerie Beaudouin, Caroline Bruzelius, Alex Gil
(Perkins 217)

Thursday, March 30th

GIS Summit: Dissecting Humanities GIS Projects: Cross-sections, Guts and a Good Story
The purpose of this lecture and round-table discussion is to construct a cross-section of the spatial humanities process by dissecting a handful of projects according to their purpose, tools chosen, required knowledge, and audience.
4:00-6:00pm – Edward Triplett, Brian Norberg
(Collision Space – Bay 10, 2nd Floor)

Friday, March 31st

GIS Summit: 3D Mapping
3D Mapping for Historical Subjects – Opportunities and ObstaclesEdward Triplett
Cesium, open formats and the future of streaming 3D geospatial over the web – Todd Smith (Product Manager, Cesium)
9:30-11:30am
(PhD Lab, Bay 4, 1st Floor, Smith Warehouse)

Visualization Friday Forum
Digital Visualizations of an Early Modern Portrait of Venice
12:00-1:00pm – Kristin Huffman Lanzoni
(D106 LSRC)

Wednesday, April 12th

Managing Qualitative Research
Talk and moderated discussion with PhD students about challenges to managing and analyzing their research data and the ways in which digital tools (DEVONThink and NVivo, respectively) helped them to address these needs.
12:00-1:00pm – Kathryn Desplanque, Andrew Van Horn Ruoss, Victoria Szabo (moderator)
(Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall – C105, Bay 4 (South), Smith Warehouse)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

FHI-NCCU Digital Humanities Fellows Symposium
Please join us for this half-day symposium marking the end of the first year of the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) – North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Digital Humanities Initiative.
10:00am – 2:00pm
(North Carolina Central University)

Sta. Chiara Team to Present in Naples

March 2, 2017

After an exciting year of discovery, the international team of scholars and students investigating the history of Sta. Chiara’s lost choir screen will present their findings at the site of study. Congratulations to all on their hard work and scholarly contribution to historic understandings of Sta. Chiara in Naples and medieval Italian architecture! Read more about the project and about the research team.

Fall 2016 Course Projects Round Up

January 20, 2017

Fall 2016 yielded exciting new mapping and modeling projects from Wired! courses. We are pleased to be able to share some of them with you:

 

Mapping Italian Baroque Art & Architecture

Students in ARTHIST 256 Italian Baroque Art used Omeka and Neatline to create digital archives and exhibitions that use annotated historical maps, timelines, and multimedia to construct visual narratives about significant artists, patrons, and sites created in Italy during the seventeenth century.

 

Modeling Medieval European Castles

Students in ARTHIST 190S Medieval Castles of Europe worked in Autodesk 3D Studio Max to create counterfactual models of medieval castles drawing on their knowledge of medieval architecture, politics, and geography. Their projects have been made available through Sketchfab.

 

Designing Gothic Cathedrals

Students in ARTHIST 225 Gothic Cathedrals spend the semester designing architectural plans for plausible medieval European cathedrals. They develop an historical and religious narrative, budget, iconography, and elevations, sections, and floor plans. Here is one example of such a project.

 

MA students’ semester projects:

For ARTHIST 305 Virtual Museums, Yuchen Zhao designed an augmented reality app using Unity 3D that visualizes annotated 3D models on the plan of a Roman complex:

For ISS 320 Introduction to Unity, Wei Tan created a game to demonstrate her knowledge of designing interactivity in Unity3D:

 

 

Duke’s Spring Digital Workshops & Events

January 10, 2017

Whether you’re a student, staff or faculty member, there are many opportunities to brush up your digital knowledge this spring at Duke. Topics range from Microsoft Office to command line to HTML to 3D printing to data visualization and everywhere in between. Here are some workshop series you’ll want to check out:

Data & Visualization Services

In Spring 2017, DVS is implementing new workshops in graphic design for diagrams, with a focus on Adobe Illustrator. Other new and returning workshops of interest include data management and historical GIS.

Events at The Edge

Check out their January 18 events on data management & publishing!

Innovation Co-Lab roots/ Series

This series is great for learning tools for web development, such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. They also offer programming courses for those who really want to get under the hood.

Visualization Friday Forum

Hear colleagues at Duke, as well as visitors from other institutions and private industry, discuss their visualization projects. Most Fridays during the semester.

Computational Media Arts & Cultures Rendezvous

Colleagues in the labs in Art, Art History & Visual Studies present on their work-in-progress and hear from visitors in higher education and private industry on a range of topics.

Social Science Research Institute Workshop Series

Learn qualitative data analysis tools, social science research methods, and more!

Research Computing

Check out their annual university-wide symposium, January 18-20!

OIT Training

OIT offers both in-person and online training in tools such as Microsoft and Qualtrics. They also have a great lunchtime series that takes on a wide range of topics of interest to staff and faculty at the university.

And don’t forget that Duke community members have access to the extensive training library at Lynda.com!

Looking for more? Also check out the curated lists at digitalhumanities.duke.edu. Happy computing!