Vamonde is a recently launched urban story telling app that uses curated content and GPS to connect users to significant places.
Rebecca Zorach, a professor of art history at Northwestern University created a module in Vamonde called “Lost Murals of Chicago” in which she takes app users to 8 murals in Chicago and provides information about the artists, how the murals were created, and other signifiant facts about the mural site. Vamonde provides a map with GPS walking directions from a user’s location to the mural site.
Check out the Vamonde app to go on your own walking tour of “Lost Murals of Chicago” or other tours on the app. Right now the app only features content from Chicago, and other tours such as “The Inside Track: Art on CTA” and “Humboldt Park: Jens Jensen’s Experimental Grounds” might be of interest. Vamonde is currently only available at the iTunes App Store and requires users to sign up for a free account.
For more images and information about the community mural movement in Chicago, visit the Public Art Workshop Mural Archive hosted by the VRC in Luna.
Cambridge University recently announced that they have digitized objects from the Library’s Chinese collections and made them freely available on-line. Digitized items include a collection of oracle bones that display some of the earliest examples for writing anywhere in the world, as well as the manuscript “Manual of Calligraphy and Painting.” This manuscript is incredibly rare and the binding so fragile that many of the prints have never been seen until now. The library has also digitized early printed books and a 14th-century banknote!
The digital images are accompanied by short description of the work and includes metadata in English and Chinese. They can be downloaded under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial license. Reproduction rights can also be requested through the site.
Ukiyo-e Search provides an incredible resource: the ability to run a reverse image search for Japanese woodblock prints and the ability to see similar prints across multiple collections at once. Over 220,000 prints and metadata have been aggregated from a variety of museums, universities, libraries, auction houses and dealers from around the world. The image and text search engine allows multiple copies of the same print to automatically line up with each other and are made viewable in a gallery for easy comparison. The entire website is also available in both English and Japanese. Ukiyo-e.org was created by John Resig, a computer programmer and avid enthusiast of Japanese woodblock prints who recently become a Visiting Researcher at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. This powerful tool is used frequently by UChicago faculty and aided the cataloging of several albums in the Smart Museum’s collection.
Princeton University, in collaboration with the University of Michigan and the University of Alexandria, have announced the launch of a website documenting icons from the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai.
The icons were documented and photographed on expeditions led by Kurt Weitzmann from Princeton University and George Forsyth from the University of Michigan from 1956 to 1965. Princeton University now holds the color photographs taken of the icons and have digitized them, making them available for viewing. Currently, the website displays about 1,200 transparencies, with another 2,000 in the works.
The images are the copyrighted property of the Regents of the University of Michigan and the Trustees of Princeton University, but can be freely used for classroom projection, display on computer monitors, and use in class assignments. The images cannot be published without permission, but requesting permission can be easily done through the website.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Hieronymus Bosch, the Netherlandish painter best known for his painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” And thanks to the work of a group of art historians, film-makers, and photographers, one no longer needs to travel to the Prado Museum in Spain to get a good look at this amazing painting!
Described as an “online interactive adventure,” the site allows viewers to either freely move around the painting, zooming on details or take a guided tour. Additionally, there are some 40 recorded audio essays throughout the painting. Click on an icon, and you can zoom into a detail and listen to an explanation of what’s depicted and how it relates to the work overall.
In addition to the interactive painting, there is also a new app allowing viewers to see the garden in “virtual reality.” Bosch VR, produced by BDH Design agency, allows viewer to move through the garden by viewing the painting on an iPad or on an iPhone or Android phone using Google Cardboard.
Google Cardboard viewers are available for use from the VRC during normal operating hours.
Comprising a website, a traveling exhibition, and book, Qantara is a very rich and interesting resource for studying the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to the 18th century. The website contains over 1500 entries from Western Europe, Byzantium, and Islamic regions that include objects, sites, and monuments. The material can be searched using various intersections such as materials, subjects, or historical period. Each entry has descriptive metadata (size, media, discovery and repository information), a short descriptive essay, and a bibliography.
There are repositories and cultural heritage institutions from nine countries involved in Qantara, and the information has been reviewed by over 200 experts including curators, historians, and researchers.
The Visual Resources Center recently added a beautiful group of French medieval cathedrals to the publicly available Lantern Slide Collection. These images are some of the finest examples of large format architectural photography in the collection. We continue to add images to the Luna collection on a regular basis, so check back in to see what’s new!
Recently, the British Library did a CT Scan of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, one of the oldest European manuscripts, dating to the 8th Century. An explanation of the process of scanning the manuscript can be found on the British Library’s website. Once the manuscript was scanned, along with a facsimile used for comparison, the data was processed in a program called “Drishti,” which allows for exploring and visualizing vast amount of data (above).
From the scans, researchers discovered that the central motif on the binding was made using a clay-like material, rather than gesso or cord as had previously been thought.
The entire manuscript has been digitized and is available on the British Library’s website here.
The Visual Resources Center is very pleased to offer over 6,000 new images of architecture and outdoor sculpture loaded overnight to the Archivision Collection. Archivision is a subscription-based collection of almost 78,000 high-resolution, high-quality images of architecture, urban design, gardens, and outdoor sculpture from around the world and all time periods. The collection is curated by Scott Gilchrist, a trained architect and professional photographer.
The latest upload, Module 10, contains a wealth of images of architecture in the United States, including modern and contemporary works in California and the desert southwest. There is also early Modernist buildings from the Netherlands, important buildings in India, campuses of both the Cranbrook Academy and Yale University, topographic views of many US cities, and even images from Yellowstone National Park.
All images are cleared for educational use and publication rights may be obtained at email@example.com.
This weekend marks the opening of the 3 month long Chicago Architecture Biennial. With a mission of creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism, the Biennial “seeks to convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architecture to contemporary society.” The calendar is overflowing with events, including free tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s S.C. Johnson Wax headquarters and the UChicago campus, as well as the opening of the Stony Island Arts Bank, all happening this weekend.