Jewel D. MercaderResearcher 1National Museum of the PhilippinesAnthropology Division Science and Technology for Art (START) 2012, Event 2: Educational Program Training Course on Scientific Recording and Preservation of National and International Cultural Heritage Assets Last September 4-7 2012, an effective educational program and training course on ScientificRecording and Preservation of National and International Cultural Heritage Assets was held in theUniversity of Santo Tomas. The conference was hosted by the said university and organized by otherconcerned institutions in the field such as National Museum of the Philippines, University of thePhilippines Diliman, Kyoto University, National Historical Commission, and UNESCO NationalCommission of the Philippines. It was generously sponsored by Kyoto University and by MEXT Ministryof Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. The plenary talks were all free-of-charge and thus were opened to the general public especially to the researchers, collectors, artists,students, custodians of heritage, media and the like. The event was supposedly limited to 40participants. In the end there were a total of 56 slots opened to those who registered the earliest andthe most interested. There were a total of 10 experts and professionals from local and abroad who partook asspeakers on the event. These were Professor Ari Ide-Ektessabi, Dr. Jay Arre Oliveros Toque and Ms.Chizu Hoshiai from Kyoto University; Sarah Kenderdine from City University of Hong Kong; Ms.Chiyoko Sato from Kyosei International Patent Office; Professor Maricor Soriano from the University ofthe Philippines Diliman; Architecture Wilkie Delumen and Architecture Luisa Valerio from NationalHistoric Commission of the Philippines; and Mr. Mike Bahrami and Professor Maita Reyes from theUniversity of Santo Tomas. Professor Kenderdine who had her lecture on the first day of training, introduced theirImmersive Museum project which started in 2008, all exhibited in the Run Run Shaw Creative MediaCentre installed in the Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This aims to intensely enhance thepresentational flexibility of museum information delivery through the use of a more engaging and moreinteractive exhibits which incorporate the principles of advanced technology. She said that this newidea of showcasing the art excites the public curiosity thus, creates interest for the audience. Shementioned that this innovation was also inspired by Automaton Theatre which became prevalent duringHellenistic times. Some of the featured exhibits depict Phantasmagoria – an art which displays ghosteryand aberrations and Anamorphosis – art which pictures out illusion and distortion. Included also in theexhibition are perfect representations of Baroque architecture and painting through panoramic andpanoptic projections. Panoramic Immersion, Augmented Immersion and other new techniques weresignificantly applied and were evident in their ‘Pure Land’, ‘The Lost Ones’ and other exhibitions. At theend of her lecture, she asked each participant to introduce themselves and share on what things theyare interested the most. It turned out that the audience was comprised of a very diverse group ofpeople who deal on different fields. Nonetheless, it seems that what brought them together were theconcern for taking care of our cultural heritage and the appreciation for art. Another expert, Doctor Jay Arre Oliveros Toque discussed on Basic and Advanced AnalyticalImaging, Multispectral, Hyperspectral and Polarized Imaging for Cultural Heritage: Theories andPractical Demonstration, and Demonstration of Ultra High Resolution Digitization of Important NationalHeritage of the Philippines. Analytical Imaging for one is utilized and beneficial not just in museumendeavors but also in forensic. They have developed this movable device which is able to scan any
Jewel D. MercaderResearcher 1National Museum of the PhilippinesAnthropology Divisionmatter at even microscopic level with an ultra high resolution capability – making it easier to analyzeany object. It is an in-depth data gathering tool which transforms qualitative data to quantitative dataand is very effective in such a way that it is non invasive and non destructive. He said the adeptness ofthis tool is so extensive that just by an image of the shape of a smoke released from an eruption; it isable to trace the cause and pattern of the explosion. It can also be converted to a spectrometer. On thefirst and third day of the training, everyone was given the chance to witness how the scanner worksright before their very eyes. Doctor Toque mentioned that the tool is not yet patented and that theywould happily lend or would even provide one for free for institutions which are in great need of thedevice, to be used only in nothing but sensible efforts. On the second day, Mr. Mike Bahrami and Professor Maita Reyes spoke about conservation ofart objects. Mr. Bahrami, a microbiologist, discussed some of the basic principles in conservation ofartifacts through understanding how microorganisms behave, deteriorate and affect organic andinorganic matter. At the onset of his talk, he gave the Lascaux cave exhibition crisis as an example of atragic incident in terms of conservation of art. Since it was opened to the public in 1948, paintings weregradually damaged caused by the excessive release of carbon dioxide of visitors. It was closed andrestored in 1963 until its resumption in 1983. He stated that there are four types of microorganismswhich deteriorate matter. The bacteria and molds (fungi) are responsible for damaging organic mattersuch as paintings and wooden frames. Bacteria have endospores which are very resilient and resistantthat it can live thousands of years; although creation of biofilms helps prevent bacterial infection. Fungion the other hand are cottony like microorganisms which cause discoloration of artifacts. Inorganicmatters are affected by algae and lichens. Algae are photosynthetic and feed on floodlight and carbondioxide. Lichens are algae inside fungi and produce strong organic acid. On a contrary, lichens areindication of good air quality. Lichonometry is also used to date rocks. To diagnose biodeterioration,microscopy, imaging, Biochemical characterization and culturation, and DNA extraction are used orperformed. He also suggested ways to prevent biodeterioration such as mechanical removal ofmicroorganisms proceeded by treatment, physical control as in setting of appropriate humidity,temperature and gamma radiation of the location of specimens, and chemical control such asfumigation. He emphasized that the last technique is not absolutely harmful especially to the health ofconservators; however, they may choose the least detrimental but most effective fumigant suitable forparticular artifacts. On the latter part of the day Professor Reyes shared that the three main principlesof conservation are minimalism – the simpler the restoration technique, the better; reversibility –whatever change is done and applied should be revocable and; compatible stability – only the most aptconservation techniques to a particular object should be performed. For the final presentation of the day, Ms. Chiyoko Sato talked over rights managementconcerning digital images of cultural heritage items. She made a distinction among rights managementfor design patent, trademark and copyright. It really is a serious and crucial issue, but most likely it isthe one who produced the item who is initially and officially the owner unless legal transactions aremade for transfer of rights and authority. Third day was held in the National Historic Commission of the Philippines wherein architects Mr.Wilkie Delumen and Luisa Valerio conversed about principles and values in conservation of builtheritage in the Philippines and historic preservation of tangible heritage respectively. Architect Delumenemphasized the importance of historic preservation that it is a means of connecting to the past thus, ofretention of national identity. He made a few notes such as that reconstruction of items can be no morethan a copy; that conservation measures must begin in good time and in good conditions such that thebuilding that is to restored is at least 50 years old and is still 70% intact and authentic. He proceeded by
Jewel D. MercaderResearcher 1National Museum of the PhilippinesAnthropology Divisionenumerating the factors in historic preservation which include politico-legal, socio-cultural, economic,technological and ecological concerns. He said that the common denominator to manage these factorsis sincere and voluntarily participation of family units, and consequently of people of the community. Hementioned though that conflicts arise between the ‘purists’ and the ‘progressives’ wherein the formerfavors originality while the latter advocates development. Architect Valerio then continued the discussion by introducing the process of conservation andimplementation plan: site inspection, documentation with measured drawings and assessment ofcondition, graphical recording, mapping of geomorphology and material characterization. Shementioned the three important things to consider in preparation of conservation plans: budget, which isat times locally funded, granted by NCCA or initiated by the congress; availability of material, whereinresourcefulness is a must; and the presentation of structure. Lastly, preparation of project documentsincludes scope of work, methodology of conservation and estimate of work. Last day of training was a very engaging and interesting day for participants. Professor MaricoSoriano lectured on image processing basics. She requested the attendees a day before her talk todownload free image processing applications on the internet such as Autostitch, Microsoft ICE andImageJ. Before trying out these programs and conducting a hands on session, she talked about digitalcleaning – a non invasive technique which produces digitally-restored image of artifacts, especiallypaintings. She also presented the 3D imaging technology which uses structured light elimination toproduce a 3D image of objects. With proper calibration, it can determine the depth of an artifact throughimage and it can also distinguish old and recent marks made on an object. Lastly, she proudly showeda rapid reef mosaicing tool for coastal areas called ‘teardrop’. It is a device which is droppedunderwater to capture images without requiring a person to dive into the water, just like theconventional and painstaking way. They will then use an image processing tool to stitch the images.These images are now uploaded in Google Earth wherein coral reef mosaics are embedded throughoutthe locations visited. After the discussion, participants all went out to take pictures of their interest andthen were given the opportunity to use the image processing tools to stitch the images. ProfessorSoriano happily projected the output works of the class afterwards. To complete the lectures, thebeautiful and charming Ms. Chizu Hoshiai indulged the audience to again witness a demo using theirmost advanced high resolution digital image analyzing tool. Not every computer program has thecapability to open a 30 gigabyte or more picture file; but this tool, along with the high tech scanner,could show even the minutest detail of an image. Everyone was in awe every time Ms. Hoshiai flashesan image. Before calling it a day, the anticipated culminating program and graduation of attendees wereheld at the most exquisite building in the university - its museum. Those first timers to come to the placecould not help but to explore the spectacles of the museum. After a few minutes, everyone gatheredand the program started with short speeches from the organizers of the event. The program wasculminated by bestowing of certificates and ultimately by exchange of expression of gratitude to oneanother. Dinner was served at the lobby of the building which served as a venue for everyone tocherish and appreciate the now-have-passed days of fun and learning. Indeed the event was verysuccessful that the organizers have already planned an upcoming seminar to be held in aroundFebruary of next year.