sexta-feira, setembro 26, 2008

Museu Virtual de Herculano

Reproduzo a notícia da BBC:
Herculaneum task
They may seem unlikely early adopters, but museum curators have been some of the keenest to employ technology to blow dust of their show-cases and bring their exhibits to life. So much so, in fact, that there is now a museum dedicated to ancient history where the technology doesn’t just supplement the exhibits, but has replaced them entirely.

Wealth has always liked to dip its toes in the Mediterranean. The Italian coast at Amalfi near Naples is pretty comfortably off, and two thousand years ago well-to-do Romans trailed their togas in the sand at nearby Herculaneum. Until one night in 79 AD.
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius encased the town in scalding ash, killing those who tried to flee and preserving some of the finest examples of private Roman villas under 25 metres of debris.
Herculaneum’s Virtual Museum of Archeology (MAV) opened this summer. It creators’ aim was to digitally repair the damage wrought by Vesuvius and imagine what the living town was like.
Walter Ferrara, Head Curator, MAV: "We have so many archaeological realities nearby. 70 metres from here we have ancient Ercolano (Herculaneum). You can see only stones and some buildings how they are now. You cannot see them how they were.
"You can read about them. You can look at pictures, but it is not the same as seeing these [new] reconstructions, that are immersive and have a lot of appeal."
MosaicActually, the Romans are a very suitable subject for a digital museum; you only have to look at their mosaics to see that they were great proponents of the pixel. And one of the things that separate them from the Greeks is their technological prowess. If the Romans were around today, they’d probably watch Click.
But the developers here have been careful not to let the museum’s message become too eclipsed by 21st century technology.
Gaetano Capasso, Concept Developer for MAV: "The big difference with our museum is that the technology is transparent, invisible. For us this is the aim of technology.
"[I remember a German poem which says] when snow falls on a bell it doesn’t make it ring. And it is the same with our technology. You guess this presence, but you don’t see it. Technology has to prompt curiosity, but remain discrete.”
The MAV is unique among archaeological museums in exhibiting absolutely no ancient artefacts at all: no real Roman busts, no original murals. But there are also no alarms, no tetchy guards and no 'don’t touch' signs.
What’s nice about this museum is just how tactile it is. You can just wipe your hand across condensation to reveal the image underneath.
A camera tracking trick ofdisappearing dust is used a number of times, giving visitors a feel for the thrill of archaeological discovery. There are some other nice touches, including the fact that the museum is unapologetically educational.
Vesuvius will continue to sleep off its historic night of mayhem, so the main threat to Herculaneum, now that much of it has been excavated, is from us. If visitors to the town can be persuaded to come to the virtual museum rather than plodding around the ruins then it might go someway toward preserving them for the future.
Caterina Cozzalino, Archaeologist: "This is also the best way to make these towns live in the future, because otherwise I think they will be destroyed again and not by Vesuvius, but by people.”
As well worn as the monuments the tourists clamber over, is the notion that Italy’s heritage is so rich the country can barely afford to preserve it. The budget for Italy’s Culture Ministry for the next three years has just been slashed by 1.3 billion Euros.
With this virtual museum pulling in paying customers, and lightening the tourist load at the excavation, it might act as a model for more of Italy’s fragile archaeological sites.

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