The Belvedere Research Center continues its conference series on digital transformation of art museums with its fifth anniversary event on this crucial subject. The focus of this event is on the metaverse, an embodied virtual-reality experience, and its connection to cultural institutions. The term ‘metaverse’, coined by Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel Snow Crash (1992), came into wider consciousness when Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook as Meta in 2021 and proclaimed that he wished to focus on developing the metaverse. According to experts, the development of the metaverse is still decades away due to the lack of technological capacity. Definitions of the metaverse are therefore diverse, ranging from “collective space in virtuality” to an “embodied internet”, as well as a “place of simulation and collaboration”. What all these definitions have in common, however, the increasing demand for immersive experience between virtuality and reality, as well as the merging of networks. While some understand the metaverse as a mere buzzword, a marketing gimmick, and a way of merchandising a 1990s idea, others call it “one of the key trends of the future” that will revolutionize everything (Matthew Ball), and claim its adoption as “necessary”.
The technologization of everyday life, catalyzed by the global COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in shifting the metaverse debate from the pioneers of industry (gaming, crypto, fashion) to the cultural realm. The Belvedere itself proclaimed a “successful entry into the metaverse” with the launch of the NFT of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, while Sotheby’s created a virtual gallery in Decentraland to exhibit and sell NFTs. However, these isolated projects remain detached from the sparse research studies to date. The aim of our forthcoming conference is to give an initial impetus for critical examination of the metaverse in the cultural field. We seek to stimulate discussion about the position of cultural institutions in the metaverse. What should an art museum in the metaverse look like? What role should it play? Which aspects of the metaverse, such as augmented, virtual reality and NFTs, should be pursued as a priority in the cultural sector? And how will these developments affect the social role of museums in the coming years?
As with any innovation, there are both challenges and opportunities related to the metaverse. Its development is driven primarily by powerful, profit-oriented technological corporations such as Meta (formerly Facebook), Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft. The interests of cultural institutions have received little attention, which raises questions about the advantages and disadvantages of working with corporate giants and the search for (non-profit) alternatives. The gaming industry, for example, could serve as a fruitful source of inspiration which could initiate new riveting aspects in museum digital art education. Meanwhile, companies like Nike and Balenciaga have already recognized the potential of such games and are making high profits from the sale of digital goods. Should museums follow such examples and prioritize selling their own digital products? How would such a step affect the growing tension between e-commerce and open-access movements? Such costly but long-term crucial innovations could also exacerbate the existing digitization gap between larger and smaller museums. In other words, how can we ensure that the diversity of the cultural scene in the real world is preserved in the digital world?
Over four evenings, our forthcoming online conference will present interdisciplinary contributions to broader questions relating to the metaverse which primarily – but not exclusively – reflect critically on the following issues:
The construction and deconstruction of the term metaverse and the associated value discussion, especially in relation to the cultural sphere;
The relationship between e-commerce and open-access movements;
VR/AR/XR applications in the museum;
overcoming digital boundaries and interoperability, Linked Open Data;
interactive art education in the digital world and in the metaverse, gamification;
NFTs and the role of museums in the digital art market;
innovative forms of immersion, participation;
artificial intelligence and machine learning; and
digitization opportunities for smaller institutions.
We look forward to receiving your proposals in the fields of museum/ museology, art and cultural history, media studies and the digital humanities. Please send your abstracts for a 20- to 25-minute presentation in German or English (max. 250 words), including a short biography with complete contact information as one PDF document by 16 October 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are delighted that Prof Johanna Drucker (University of California, Los Angeles) will be our keynote speaker.
Conference Committee: Johanna Aufreiter, Christian Huemer, Anna-Marie Kroupová (Belvedere, Vienna), Johanna Drucker (University of California, Los Angeles), Sonja Gasser (University of Bern), Harald Klinke (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich).
Conference languages: English and German
Conference partners: ICOM Austria, Austrian Museums Association
All presentations will be online. The keynote lecture and the panel discussion, as well as an additional workshop for registered participants (Friday) will be held on site in the Belvedere, Vienna. Participation in the conference is free of charge.
International Online Conference
Transdisciplinary Multispectral Modelling and Cooperation for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Recapturing the World in Conflict through Culture promoting mutual understanding and Peace
Innovative scientific methodologies and challenging projects marking future trends in the protection of cultural heritage, have initiated a universal conversation within a holistic approach, merging competence from the scientific fields of architecture, civil engineering, surveying engineering, materials science and engineering, information technology and archaeology, as well as heritage professionals on restoration and conservation, stakeholders, industry representatives and policy makers. The combined utilization of digital documentation technologies with innovative analytical and non-destructive techniques, numerical, computational and 3D techniques, archaeometric and archaeogene methods, supports the creation of a transdisciplinary multispectral modeling towards the sustainable preservation of cultural heritage. Innovation is enhancing and revealing a critical dimension of the preservation of cultural heritage along with social participation and communication, and supporting peace through culture.
The National Technical University of Athens interdisciplinary team “Protection of monuments” [Prof. A. Moropoulou, Prof. M. Korres, Prof. A. Georgopoulos, Prof. C. Spyrakos, Ass. Prof. C. Mouzakis], scientific responsible for the Holy Aedicule’s rehabilitation of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and the Technical Chamber of Greece, in collaboration with international and Greek Organisations and Universities, organize the 3rd TMM_CH International Conference on “Transdisciplinary Multispectral Modelling and Cooperation for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Recapturing the World in Conflict through Culture, promoting mutual understanding and Peace”, on 20-23 March 2023 in Athens, Greece, discussing modern trends in the original agora of our technological and democratic roots.
The Conference is organized by the National Technical University of Athens in cooperation with the Technical Chamber of Greece, under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms Katerina Sakellaropoulou, with benedictions bestowed by His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and His Beatitude Archbishop Hieronymus II of Athens and All Greece.
Distinguished scientists and representatives of the National Geographic Society, the Cultural Heritage Finance Alliance, the International Council of Monuments and Sites ICOMOS, the Organization of World Heritage Cities OWHC, the European Society for Engineering Education SEFI, the European Construction Technology Platform ECTP, the International Federation of Surveyors FIG, the International Committee CIPA Heritage Documentation, the World Monuments Fund, AHEPA Hellas and other major International and European Organizations, Associations, networks Universities and Research Centers in the field of cultural heritage preservation, participate in the International Steering and Scientific Committees which had successfully organized the 1st and 2nd TMM_CH Conferences.
The conference will be held at the Eugenides Foundation. On-site attendance and oral presentation is required and will be organised according to government restrictions against Covid-19. Scientific walk and talk visits on 23 March 2023 to Acropolis Museum [in the footsteps of the Greek Peripatetic Philosophical School] and other visits planned upon demand.
At the 1st and the 2nd TMM_CH Conferences, which were held with great success in October 2018 and December 2021 respectively at the Eugenides Foundation in Athens, with the presence of 350/650 delegates from 22/33 countries from all continents, and over five thousand viewers the emblematic rehabilitation of the Holy Aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was presented as an exemplary application, in the field of monuments’ protection, of interdisciplinary and multispectral collaboration, as an outcome of innovation, not only on Research, but in the implementation process as well, with emphasis on technological advancements, not only intersecting all the scientific fields of engineers and natural scientists, but also initiating an ongoing dialogue with humanities, such as Archaeology, Theology, Sociology, Diplomacy and Tourism. Innovative knowledge transfer through practice and education is continuing the venture for the rehabilitation projects in the Holy Sepulchre Church, adjoining the National Technical University of Athens and La Sapienza University of Rome with Bezalel Academy of Science and Arts in Jerusalem, in cooperation with Israeli Antiquities Authority, through the Erasmus+ Strategic Alliance EDICULA “Educational Digital Innovative Cultural Heritage related Learning Alliance”.
Further to the achievements of the 2nd TMM_CH Conference the latest developments in research and innovation that identify novel trends to build an interdisciplinary approach to conservation and holistic digital documentation of cultural heritage is attempted at the 3rd TMM_CH. The utilization and reuse of monuments, historic cities and sites, forms the framework of a sustainable preservation of cultural heritage, in accordance with the principles of circular economy; in terms of respect and protection of values, materials, structures, architecture and landscape; with an informed society, able to participate effectively in the policies that will design and implement the new strategies required.
Sharing knowledge, experiences, and recommendations about sustainable cultural heritage approaches and practices at a moment of great conflicts and climate change, energy, environment and socio-economic risks, the sustainable preservation of cultural heritage is addressing challenges through mutual understanding and international cooperation.
CIPA2023, the 29th CIPA-HD biennial Symposium, will focus on “Documenting, understanding, preserving Cultural Heritage. Humanities and digital technologies for shaping the future”.
The Conference will explore the digital and green dimensions required to handle the complexity of Cultural Heritage management and to come up with new solutions to the challenges of reducing anthropogenic and natural risks.
The effects of Climate Change and pollution negatively impact the vulnerability of Heritage. Unfortunately, there is a constant need for timely and effective intervention in crisis areas for damage analysis, initial intervention, and subsequent recovery planning. Extraordinary Socio-Political developments demand a greater awareness of the civil importance of this safeguarding commitment.
CIPA2023 intends to combine scientific, technological, and humanistic expertise and promote interactions with the institutions in charge of conservation and restoration. Thus, the aim is to create documentation systems that address the entire life cycle of Artifacts, Archaeological sites, Historical buildings, and man-made Landscapes using new digital technologies. Risk reduction and preventive and sustainable conservation models must be developed, supporting cultural participation, accessibility, and enhancement of cultural diversity and expression.