Mellon Funded Digital Humanities Course

Art Conservation 144

Capturing Art: Digital Preservation and Analysis

Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2023

Eric Doehne, SC ARCN144

“What do we do with permanence in a change-driven world?”

- Stewart Brand

Course Description:

What goes into the Art, Science, and Practice of Permanence?

How is permanence practiced today? Digital preservation is an increasingly important part of how we experience art, save cultural heritage, and create legacy, raising questions of authenticity and ownership, sustainability and ethics, culture and computer science. In this hands-on course, participants will use state-of-the-art tools–such as 3D capture and multispectral imaging–to analyze, back-up, and increase access to important works of art at the five colleges.

The destruction of world heritage by ISIS in Syria and Iraq has provoked a strong response, including new digital preservation projects such  CyArk, Wiki Loves Monuments, and Art UK, among others. Digital preservation is also providing a series of new experiences, such as virtually walking though a long-lost city or restoring a faded masterpiece as it was intended to be seen. Technology increasingly frames our aesthetic experience of works of architecture and art, as well as archives and archaeology–mediating the creation of meaning and even sense-of-place. With help from curators and technologists, participants will capture works ranging from outdoor sculptures, ancient scrolls, historic maps, and Native American baskets, to paintings by Mary Cassatt and Wang Fu. Working closely with actual objects will prepare participants to explore and critique the capture of art.

Spotlight Article by Lauren Mar ’25, May 11, 2023 on the course:

Scripps College ARCN144