The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database

Caroline Bruzelius, Paola Vitolo

2011 - present

Project Website

The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database is a geo-referenced database of historic images from the 15th through the mid- 20th centuries that represent the medieval monuments and cities constructed by the rulers of the historic Kingdom of Sicily: the Normans, the Hohenstaufen, the Swabians, and the Angevins. The kings and queens of these dynasties, who ruled from the late 11th until the early 15th centuries, were active patrons of the arts, founding, building and decorating hundreds of abbeys, churches, castles, and other kinds of monuments. Our database identifies, collects, and illustrates images that are found in museums, libraries, archives and publications throughout Europe and the United States as an aid for travelers and scholars. The images, which were often produced by traveling artists and architects as part of the Grand Tour, document the appearance of these historic structures prior to their transformation (or destruction) as the result of Baroque remodeling, urban expansion, earthquakes, the tragic aerial bombardment of WWII, and dramatic restoration.

project-kos-website


The database is organized topographically by location. Mapping components “Map View” and “Map Research Questions” permit users to visualize their queries of the database in relation to Roman roads and ports, many of which were still the primary means of access to the Kingdom in the Middle Ages. Information about the website is available both in Italian and in English.

Our purpose is to make as many historic images available to the public for research and study as possible. This initiative was originally created with funds from 2011-2014 from The National Endowment for the Humanities; although we are currently not funded, we continue to receive it IT and data management support from Duke University.


Collaborators

Co-Pi’s: Caroline Bruzelius and Paola Vitolo

Project Manager: Joseph Williams

Data Manager and Data and Web Developer: David Tremmel

Project Co-Ordinator: William Broom

Research Collaborators: Francesco Gangemi, Olga Grlic

Metadata and Image Consultant: John Taormina

Web and Visualization Consultant: Hannah Jacobs

Geospatial Consultant: Brian Norberg

Affiliate Collaborator: Michael O’Sullivan

Student Researcher: Jessica Williams

News & Events

ARLIS/NA Reviews Kingdom of Sicily Database

Kingdom of Sicily Image Database Launches!

The Lives of Things

Caroline BruzeliusMark Olson

Fall 2012 - present

The goal of the “Lives of Things” project is to create new interactive displays and hybrid digital/physical exhibition platforms that reconstruct thelocation, color, and meaning of works of art in the collections of the Nasher Museum of Art.  A wide range of interests and interdisciplinary expertise are sought for this project, from Art History and Visual & Media Studies to Computer Science and Engineering. Students will work in teams in close collaboration with professors and graduate students or post-docs, learning an array of techniques and technologies that include the following: 3d modeling and acquisition using laser scanning and photogrammetry, geospatial mapping, augmented reality, gaming platforms, projection mapping, spatial analysis, data visualization, web or app design, writing, graphic design, database design and management, computer programming, interactive sensors and gesture recognition interfaces such as the Kinect and Leap Motion.

Check out a preview (right) and demonstration (below) of the tablet interface that currently features in an exhibit at the Nasher. This app enables visitors to digitally recolor medieval statues in the Nasher’s collection in order to see for themselves how the statues might have originally appeared.

 

 

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Collaborators

Sinan Goknur

Mariano Tepper

Guillermo Sapiro


Courses

The Museum Inside Out

Wired! The Lives of Things


Projects

Alife Arch App

The Alife Arch

Decoding Artifacts

On With Their Heads

News & Events

Nasher10 Homecoming

Mapping Stereotomy

Sara Galletti, Kristin Huffman

2017-2018

Mapping Stereotomy is a database dedicated to stereotomy, the art of cutting stones into particular shapes for the construction of vaulted structures. Stereotomy is best known for the variety of acrobatic masterpieces produced in early modern France and Spain. Yet the art is neither early modern nor European; it has been practiced over a wide temporal span, from Hellenistic Greece to contemporary Apulia, and across a broad geographical area, centered on the Mediterranean Basin but reaching far beyond—from Cairo to Gloucester and from Yerevan to Braga. Mapping Stereotomy consolidates and visualizes information on stereotomic vaults from antiquity through early modernity, with the aim of furthering and broadening research in the fields of construction techniques and Mediterranean studies.


Collaborators

Aidan Blake

Margot Calmar

Angela Tawfick

Operating Archives

Mark Olson

Fall 2013 - present

The Operating Archives project emerges out of a concern with the preservation of the “performativity” of objects in the digital archive. While digital archives afford access to historical texts, images, and objects to be read and viewed, often in a reconstituted contextual milieu, what about objects that were intended to beoperated? Taking the creation of a multimedia / multmodal archive of historical medical technologies as both case study and laboratory, this project explores different interfaces for interacting with digital objects that attempt to reconstruct contexts of use. Leveraging both interactive gaming platforms and physical computing interfaces, the project explores embodied modes of interacting with digital objects.


Collaborators

Stephanie Fiddy

Alex Gordon

Paris of Waters

Sara Galletti

Spring 2014 - present

Paris of Waters is a research project that focuses on the impact of water on the demographic, social, architectural, and urban development of the city of Paris through time. The project is concerned with water in a wide array of forms—as resource, as commodity, as means of transportation, as funnel for the city’s waste, and as cause of disaster and death—and with making it visible as a powerful agent of urban change. Paris of Waters challenges traditional urban history narratives—which tend to focus on design, monumentality, and the stylistic features of the built environment—by highlighting the role of infrastructure, underground works, and hydraulic management and engineering as defining elements of a city’s development and history.


Collaborators

Gaby Bloom

Andrew Lin

Amanda Lazarus

Dryden Quigley

Hanna Wiegers

Irene Zhou

A Portrait of Venice

Kristin Huffman

2015-2017

This innovative exhibition opens at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art in September 2017. Jacopo De’ Barbari’s patented image, a meticulous portrait of Venice in 1500, is the gateway to a world of knowledge. Along with the mural-sized, first state print from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the exhibition features a number of interactive digital engagements that bring the city to life. Multi-media visualizations of the print’s art historical and historical material have led to exciting discoveries and invaluable understandings, information to be shared with the public for the first time. The result will be an original, highly dynamic, and multi-sensory way of experiencing art and its history.

 

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Collaborators

Lizzet Clifton

Iara Dundas

Ludovica Galeazzo

Sydney Harrington

Annie Haueter

Julia Huang

Hannah Jacobs

Andrew Lin

Laura Moure-Cecchini

Elisabeth Narkin

Charlie Niebanck

Elizabeth Speed

Mary Kate Weggeland


Projects

Venice Interactive Visual Atlas

Visualizing Venice

 

Statues Speak

Elizabeth BaltesSheila Dillon


2015-2017

Statues are all around us, but we often walk past them without reflecting on who or what they represent. Once shiny new landmarks in the built environment, statues can become invisible over time. In our hurry to get from one place to another, we do not stop to read the inscriptions that often tell us why the statue was set up. In any case, the information given on the statue base is only part of the story. Statues can “speak” to us in many ways, but what if we could actually give them a voice? What would they want to tell us about themselves?

This project, a collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty at Duke University and Coastal Carolina University, aims to help statues speak, to help them tell their own stories. By combining historical research with mobile and web technologies, we will present the “autobiographies” of the statues on Duke’s campus, exploring how they fit into the fabric of Duke’s history and the long-standing practice of setting up honorific portrait statues.

 

 

Video research and script by Darrah Panzarella.


Collaborators

Christy Kuesel

Darrah Panzarella

Mary Kate Weggeland

Jessica Williams

Venice Interactive Visual Atlas

Kristin Huffman

Spring 2014 - present

The Venice Interactive Visual Atlas (VIVA) is an emerging website that will provide access to information about Venice through interactive historical views, maps, and surveys of Venice. Because of its remarkable archive, Venice is one the best documented cities in Europe, with vast information on the history of the city, its monuments, and its institutions. The VIVA website is conceived as a vehicle that brings the history of the city to scholars, students, and the general public by visualizing data on historic maps and cadasters. This digital atlas of Venice, unlike traditional atlases, permits the dynamic visualization of information about transformation and change of the city as a whole.


Collaborators

Gaby Bloom

Iara Dundas

Stephanie Fiddy

Ludovica Galeazzo

Hannah Jacobs

Jared Schwartz


Projects

A Portrait of Venice

Venice Virtual World

Visualizing Venice

Visualizing Venice

Caroline Bruzelius, Andrea GiordanoKristin Huffman, Paul JaskotCosimo MonteleoneMark Olson, Victoria Szabo

2009-present

Project Website

This project began in 2009 as an initiative that uses archival sources (documents, plans, images) to map growth and change in the city of Venice. It is a collaboration with the University of Venice (IUAV) and the Department of Engineering at the University of Padua. The team now consists of about 30 faculty, post-docs and graduate students, and at Duke we are developing a series of inititives that also involve undergraduates in courses and in independent research projects with Prof. Kristin Lanzoni. A new initiative is being developed with the Nicholas School of Duke University that explores the connection between the natural and man-made environments of the city of Venice and its lagoon. We have set up a digital laboratory at Venice International University and had our first international training workshop there.


Collaborators

Paolo Borin

Laura Moure Cecchini

Alexandra Dodson

Iara Dundas

Hannah Jacobs

Elisabeth Narkin

Erica Sherman

Ed Triplett


Courses

Splendor of the City: The Art and Architectural of Renaissance Venice

Mapping and Modeling Early Modern Venice

Virtual Form and Space

Visualizing Venetian Art

First Year Seminar: Mapping and Modeling Early Modern Venice


Projects

Ghett/App

A Portrait of Venice

Venice Virtual World

Venice Interactive Visual Atlas (VIVA)

Water and Food in Venice. Stories from the Lagoon and the City