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      Making the Absent Object Present: Towards a holographic museum of modern art (hMoMA)


      Proceedings of EVA London 2019 (EVA 2019)

      Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

      8 - 11 July 2019

      Museum, Archive, Digitisation, Culture, Heritage, Virtual, Volumetric



            Fifty-five thousand museums worldwide are custodians of our cultural legacy and over ninety-five percent of their collections are in storage and rarely, if ever, publicly displayed. This early practice based PhD research explores the viability and acceptability of improving public access to these hidden collections by using recently available digital technology. The aim is to enable museum visitors to walk around three-dimensional digital replicas of stored artefacts and moving subjects, as though these replicas are physically present in the real world exhibition space. Curatorial interpretation is envisaged from knowledge experts similarly replicated to appear alongside both digital and physical exhibits in the gallery. Whilst recognising that digital replicas are not the same as the real thing, if stored collections are rarely seen, this is the next best thing, and as technology improves will move even closer to a physical experience. The technology to create these three dimensional digital replicas is a portable volumetric capture rig, one of which has been assembled by the author. This consists of multiple miniature cameras, recording depth as well as image, mounted on portable stands, which are arranged in a circle around the subject. The cameras are connected to a computer and software, which synchronises the information provided by the cameras and creates and records static and moving point-cloud images rendered into life-like three-dimensional replicas either in real-time or in post processing. A person can view these threedimensional digital replicas using Mixed Reality (MR) smart glasses or headsets. These devices allow the user to walk around three-dimensional digital replicas as though physically present in the real-world environment, hence in MR. This is distinct from Augmented Reality (AR) which overlays two-dimensional images on the real world, and Virtual Reality (VR), which displays images in an occluded virtual world. Benefits include: Giving wider public access to collections without commensurate pressures to increase museum exhibition space; 3D replicas of repatriated exhibits can be displayed in donating institutions; The advantages of 3D scanning are no longer limited to static collections as moving contemporary art such as performance can be included (hence the title of this paper, Towards hMoMA). In this paper the author gives an overview of technology developments contributing to this research as well describing his own art practice, which combines digital replicas in mixed reality, binaural audio and physical art installations.


            Author and article information

            July 2019
            July 2019
            : 148-154
            [0001]Kingston School of Art and University of the Arts London 20 Matham Road, Surrey KT8 0SU, UK
            © Quinn. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA London 2019, UK

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

            Proceedings of EVA London 2019
            EVA 2019
            London, UK
            8 - 11 July 2019
            Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
            Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
            Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
            Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
            Electronic Workshops in Computing


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