This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 703937
Summary. This project addresses the theoretical and methodological questions of embodied interaction through body movement and the use of mediation technology, in the context of multimedia installation art. The long-term goal is the definition of a framework for the preservation of interactive artworks, ensuring future re-use and flexible access.
Most multimedia artwork produced since the 1990s is lost due to the lack of adequate preservation methodologies: as a result, the European cultural asset is impoverished and its potential for economic growth is drastically diminished. The intrinsic interconnection of multimedia art with information technology requires a multidisciplinary approach to preservation, involving high-profile cultural and scientific competences.
With this project I intend to integrate my years of experience in the field of audio preservation with advanced competences from user-oriented studies in embodied cognition research, in order to bridge the gap between the world of the arts and multimedia preservation. Qualitative data, obtained with targeted questionnaires and interviews, will be processed and analysed in combination with quantitative data, obtained with state-of-the-art sensing technology (bio-sensors, motion capture, etc.).
Ghent University (BE) is a world-wide reference for embodied cognition research, social music interaction concepts and studies on user feedback, besides providing an innovation-friendly environment where I can broaden my professional network and establish myself as an independent researcher on the European level. During the secondment at the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision (NL), a trendsetting audiovisual archive and house to PrestoCentre, the EU competence centre on digital audiovisual preservation, I will receive additional training on the virtuous liaison between the world of multidisciplinary reserach with that of the creative industries.
This project contributes to the Work Programme H2020 by (1) canalizing advanced competences on the safeguard and the promotion of European cultural heritage, and by (2) bridging the gap between cutting-edge scientific-technological knowledge and the world of the arts, facilitating interdisciplinary innovation and strengthening the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors (Official Journal of the European Union, L 347/225, Artt. 3a and 5.1).
Apollo and Daphne
Apollo and Daphne is a life-sized Baroque marble sculpture by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, executed between 1622 and 1625. Housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, the work depicts the climax of the story of Daphne and Phoebus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
According to Greek myth, Apollo chased the nymph Daphne because of her beauty. But just before being overtaken, Daphne pleaded to her father, who transformed her into a laurel tree thus preserving her virginity: “a heavy numbness seized her limbs, thin bark closed over her breasts, her hair turned into leaves, her arms into branches, her feet so swift a moment ago stuck fast in slow-growing roots, her face was lost in the canopy. Only her shining beauty was left.”1
This is my favourite of all Bernini’s works. I am dazzled by the mastery with which he represented the dynamic moment of Daphne’s transformation from human being to cold marble: her arms turning into branches and her hands turning into leaves, with Phoebus at her back. I think that this sculpture, 500 years old, provides a well-suited metaphor for the preservation of interactive art, where the main problem concerns the transitory nature of art and the static freeze-frames imposed by most archival practices. We have to answer this question: is the representation of a dynamic artistic process possible at all? Or is an interactive artwork meant to be “turned into a tree” in order to be preserved, just like Daphne?
DaphNet is the union of the words Daphne and Network. Daphne refers to the Greek myth, while Network refers to the network of artists and organisations that is the backbone of the project and a precious resource for my research (see Network).
IPEM research center of Ghent University, Belgium (Beneficiary / Host institution)
IPEM (Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music) is the research centre of the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Studies of Ghent University, Belgium, since 1963. IPEM carries out pioneering research in the cultural and creative sector, with a special focus on the relationship between body movement and new technologies. With an interdisciplinary group of 20 researchers, IPEM’s application domains range from music education and performance, health and sports, multimedia, archiving and gaming. IPEM has in-house technical and administrative staff. Visit IPEM’s website: http://www.ipem.ugent.be
Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision (Partner organisation hosting secondment)
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (NISV) is an advanced and trendsetting audiovisual archive that has successfully made its way into the digital realm. It maintains and provides access to 70 per cent of the Dutch audiovisual heritage, comprising approximately 750,000 hours of television, radio, music and film and web video, making Sound and Vision one of the largest audiovisual archives in Europe. The institute operates as a visitor attraction aimed at the general public and is visited by over 200,000 people annually. It is also engaged in Europe’s largest-scale digitization programme Images for the Future. Sound and Vision has made available thousands of hours of archive footage online for various end-user services, including dedicated services for the creative industries, education and research. Sound and Vision is a highly valued partner in a wide range of research projects. It has been active in the European research arena for over 14 years. Sound and Vision is also active in the international organisations FIAT/IFTA, IASA, EBU and UNESCO and home to PrestoCentre, the competence centre on digital audiovisual preservation. Visit NISV’s website: http://www.beeldengeluid.nl/en
1Translation by A. S. Kline, 2000.