Digital Replicas Project

The Digital Replicas Project is a collaboration with the Breaking the mould: Ireland's replicas of cultural objects from the historic to the digital project (Irish Research Council-funded Employment Based Postgraduate Programme; Project ID: EBPPG/2015/192) that is being undertaken by Ms Michael Ann Bevivino in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin in partnership with CRDS Ltd. (an archaeological company based in Trim, Co. Meath). The project also will involve interaction with the National Museum of Ireland.

The DRP is divided into three themes: Changes, Perceptions, and Trends.

Change refers to the aspects of digital replication that is of most relevance to heritage conservation and recording. For example, it will compare historic replicas (such as 19th-century plaster casts and their moulds) to the originals in an attempt to assess erosion, damage and environmental changes to monuments at a micro-level.

Perception addresses factors that influence our reading of original heritage objects and their replicas. This theme will investigate aspects such as the colour of objects and how digital replicas might test theories on the use of colour in the past. The perception of the scale of an object may change when viewed on a computer screen rather than in real life. The influence of 3D-printed models on perception of objects needs to be tested as does that of cultural heritage practice, especially the experience of ‘visiting’ a virtual museum rather than a ‘real’ museum?

Trends will explore various developments in digital technologies, such as the rapid growth of the 3D printing industry and the current move away from specialised technology and equipment to more ‘democratic’ means of production using a simple hand-held camera and open source software. It will also look at how digital models and 3D printing are being used to ‘bring objects to the world’ as resources for teaching and through web dissemination.

Team: Robert Shaw, Michael Ann Bevivino (University College Dublin & CRDS Ltd).

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