Treasures is an exhibition and research project reflecting on the use of 3d modeling to archive and reconstruct ancient pottery objects. It is my assertion, here, that excavated pottery objects will always be removed from context when represented. Static museum settings for the display of pottery have created a linear understanding of the vessel object, a flattening. Treasures argues for a much more complex history of objects charged with narrative and individuality. Museums attempt to solve this conundrum with supplemental illustrations, images, and now, virtual interfaces. Thinking about these means of reproduction, my central concern is whether or not objects uphold their integrity or preciousness when they are archived, copied, or otherwise decontextualized by an institution.
I am interested in this consideration of the handmade object in terms of its value in times past, and its new meaning within the context of the virtual space and infinite archive. Virtual technology creates a new way of seeing and perceiving ancient artifacts like the pottery from excavation sites around the world. In conflating these disciplines, the space between historical pottery objects, and digital language can reveal a universal truth.
Changes in medium within said reproduction, such as the works on display in the Treasures exhibition, relate to contemporary perception shifting and therefore contributing to the decay of the aura. If we consider the aura as a proposed phenomenon of distance, we can conjecture that the aura of an object fades as time passes from its genesis. In a world narrated by images viewed on screens, the historical significance assigned to the ancient relic is in decline, the aura of its historical understanding is deteriorating.
These objects each come with a unique individual history that is neglected, misconstrued, over generalized, and flattened in the overarching methods of curation within the museological structure. Further, the cataloging of the objects through images, or through three-dimensional rendering reiterates the neglection of the historical discourse.