This project aims to rethink Johann Georg Pinsel heritage with the aid of augmented reality.
An outstanding baroque sculptor Maestro Pinsel is known for astounding church sculptures he made in what are now Western Ukrainian lands. Even though they were created in the 1750s, their plasticity is charged with such emotions and spirituality that they continue a dialogue with sensibilities of a contemporary person. Collected, retrieved or salvaged from their decrepit architectural environment these sculptures grew to become a reflected heritage of our culture, something that allows for perceiving its sense-building potential.
It is this potential of Pinsel heritage, its propensity to be more than an artefact displayed in a museum, more than an intellectual argument or an art history illustration, that compels us to think about it and to reflect how to talk about this heritage in a fresh and lively, holistic and substantial manner, engaging various perspectives and experiences. It also calls us to rethink what it means to be responsible about one’s heritage, not only to understand its importance but also to act accordingly; how to keep a perfect balance between preserving something and keeping it alive.
What we do
Contemporary technological advance enables tackling this issue in a novel manner. We want to benefit from a progress in a mixed reality technology, which augments our perception of the reality via digital means.
Augmented reality demands from us to capture and reconstruct, that is, to re-create digitally, material artefacts. It works towards advantage of an artefact from the very beginning, that is from the high-quality capture. Bearing in mind irregularities in maintenance of sculptures in different times digital conservation becomes handy first of all to conservators and researchers, who can better understand processes of physical deterioration of an object and possibilities for its professional restoration, but also meticulously study different sculptures (for instance, roentgen, infrared and ultraviolet, microscopic and radiocarbon analysis). All-encompassing understanding of the physical state of things will give a better point of departure or an argument for interpretations, for historians, art historians, culture studies specialists, and philosophers, who will thus attain an opportunity to scrutinize the Maestro’s heritage from new and different perspectives, from a close-up.
Three-dimensional modeling of Pinsel’s sculptures and showcasing them either online or in other forms makes them accessible for broader audiences, including those who have possibility to visit museums of Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk or other cities, where his sculptures are exhibited. Digital ‘original’ of the sculpture allows for dynamic viewing of the object, seeing it from different angles, down to the tiniest detail, for a more prolonged time; it allows for limitless concentration on the object itself.
Appropriate inclusion of the 3D models into exposition will enrich representational capacities of the museum. It will open it up for new audiences and to new possibilities for exhibitions (i.e., virtual reconstructions of original church interiors).
Printed virtual models of sculptures make Pinsel artwork accessible in at least two more essential aspects. 3D printing allows people with visual impairments to learn about plasticity of the Maestro sculptures, while art students (future sculptors, restoration specialists, animation artists, etc) will be able to practice new technics of drawing, sculpturing, and modeling.
Pinsel.AR project at this stage deals with high quality collecting and processing of data in order to produce data ‘basis’ of sculptures, necessary for creating augmented reality. It means employing high-end photo technology and professional lights in the process of photogrammetry, 3D-scanning, post-processing, etc. Quality of virtual models we are producing is ahead of technical progress; yet, we believe that in several years this in-built potential will be working to uncover the full potential of Pinsel heritage. It is hard to foresee all possible vectors of further development of this project, but we see potential application of our models in VR and media art and, of course, in further research and promotion of Pinsel oeuvre.