Make visible dispersed and disappeared collections. The Invisible Museum : an AR 3D experience on smartphones and tablet computers.

Sébastien COTTE, reciproque / C3DC, France, François Forge, reciproque, France, Beatrice de_Chancel-Bardelot, Musée de Cluny , FRANCE , Camille Autran, UMR CNRS/MCC MAP, France

Abstract

During the French Revolution, some of the artwork confiscated from religious institutions in Paris were consigned in a storage facility under the custody of Alexandre Lenoir. He decided to make it a museum. With augmented reality, this museum closed in 1816 can now be visited event though the pieces have been dispersed or disappeared. The proposal was simple. With Augment, a free AR application, and a smartphone or table computer, visitors scanned some targets (kakemono or posters describing an object) and discovered the 3D virtual recons of art pieces. This project goals are to demonstrate how 3D digital technologies can enhance the museum experience and help to make visible for the public two French research projects : “Culture 3D Cloud”: a Cloud Computing platform for 3D digitization, documentation, and preservation of cultural heritage, endorsed by the French government, and gathering cultural institutions (RMN, CMN, etc.), major research laboratories (CNRS, INRIA, MAP, etc.) and reputable commercial and technological partners (reciproque). “Musée des Monuments Français 3D” : a database created by Louvre Museum, MAP (Architecture et Heritage Laboratory of CNRS and INHA (National Institute of History of Art) in order to gather 3D digitization and reconstructions of the work of art that were exposed in this disappeared museum Thanks to a light and affordable apparatus, visitors magically discovered life-size disappeared or dismantled pieces of art. More than a simple gadget, the Invisible Museum was a new way for the institution which worked together to show and transmits the results of their research works. Participate to a lightining talk at M&W2015 could permit us to increase the C3DC project visibility worldwide, exchange views with professionnals on it and create new business opportunities.

Keywords: Augmented reality, 3D, digitization, research project, cultural heritage, reconstitution

Digitization, analysis, data-mining, open-source systems creation, etc. Data are the “new frontier” of our profession.

How can we make these datas accessible to a larger audience ? How would we create simple and cheap device to enable visitors to manipulate them and make them their own ?

A/ The first experiment

During the French Revolution, some of the artworks of religious institutions in Paris and around were locked in a storage facility under the custody of Alexandre Lenoir to prevent them from being destroyed by revolutionnaries, and to sort works for sale and works for museums. He then decided to turn this hidden collection into a museum, and made it available to the public in 1795. His interpretations and scenographic choices were both intriguing and innovating at the time, and are still subjects of studies as of today.

This museum closed in 1816; thanks to augmented reality, it can now be visualises even though the pieces have been scattered or lost.

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The proposal is simple : with only Augment (a free AR application), and a smartphone or table computer, visitors scan visual targets (kakemono or posters describing an object) and discover the 3D virtual reconstruction of art pieces.

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B/ The goal : Communicate about two research projects

This project aims at demonstrating how 3D digital technologies enhance the museum experience. It also made two French research projects visible by the public :

“Musée des Monuments Français 3D” (website)

This project is under the direction of Mme Geneviève Bresc. It was led by the Musée du Louvre, MAP-MAACC (Laboratory of Architecture and Heritage Modeling and simulating, from CNRS, dir. François Guéna) and INHA (National Institute of History of Art). It intends to create a database, gathering 3D digitizations (by photogrammetry) and reconstructions of the works of art that were exposed in the disappeared museum of Alexandre Lenoir. The 3D scene is associated with a scientific documentary database created by art historians from INHA and the Louvre (Béatrice de Chancel-Bardelot, curator, Angèle Dequier, photograph and documentalist). This experiment was part of a larger research designed to gather knowledge from art historians, museum curators and new technologies scientists (Camille Autran, MAP-MAACC) in order to develop digital tools for enhanced communication, teaching and research in the museum heritage sector. The project had two main final goals : make the base available to help the historians to study the museum and its scenography, but also present this unknown museum to the general audience by different means. The invisible museum was one of those.

“Culture 3D Cloud” (website)

Used to create the digitization of the MMF 3D project, C3DC is a Cloud Computing platform for 3D digitization, documentation, and preservation of cultural heritage, endorsed by the French government. Gathering cultural institutions (RMN, CMN, etc.), major research laboratories (CNRS, INRIA, MAP, etc.) and recognized commercial and technological partners (reciproque), the main goal of these project is to create an affordable cloud computing platform to enable cultural institutions to easily digitize their collections thanks to photogrammetry. After uploading 20 photos of an object or a place taken following a defined protocol, the platform will process in the cloud its precise 3D reproduction which will be available for download, sharing or storage.

C/ Conclusions

Thanks to a light and affordable apparatus, visitors magically discover the life-size dismantled pieces of art of the lost museum reconstructed by MMF3D. Created by the reciproque team (François Forge and Sébastien Cotte), The Invisible Museum was a new way for the institutions which worked together to show and transmit the results of their research works.

More than a simple gadget, an authentic exhibition of disappeared works of art was offered to the audience. The trackers contained a text describing the objects and how Alexandre Lenoir interpreted them (written by Béatrice de Chancel-Bardelot). An educational leaflet containing a map of the Museum and some depictions of the objects was proposed to the audience.
This experiment proved that great results can be obtained with few resources. This first proof of concept hacking existing tools instead of create it permitted to communicate about these two research projects and arouse interest about the use of 3D models as educational tools for cultural institutions. As it appears, it is still a young practise as long as French traditional culture is concerned (apart from architecture matters).

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D/ Next steps

First exhibited as a demonstrator in professional fairs and congresses, The Invisible Museum is now becoming an authentic educational tool. After a few months of research and development focused on recent augmented and virtual reality technologies, we developed a wide range of tools aiming to make accessible invisible works of art.

We could hope to obtain a full render of the Lenoir’s museum, in AR, so that it could entirely appear under our eyes, and give a perfect impression of spaces, sizes and volumes at no expense. This kind of technologies is not intrusive, and let the visitor discover the place by himself, surrounded or not, and wherever the exhibition takes place.
At the moment, we are working with several institutions in that way. At the Roche-Guyon castle, a castle at the north of Paris, we are working on the reintegration of a 18th century living room furniture, sold in auction room during the 80’s, by an augmented reality apparatus on smartphone. At Sérignan, in south of France, thanks to a virtual reality system, we’re recreating in the city’s contemporary art museum, a contemporary artist’s installation in a nearby former winery now inaccessible to visitors for preservation motives.
We’re currently working with the Louvre on the Invisible Museum adaptation as an educational tool for exhibition dedicated to Alexandre Lenoir and his museum of French Monuments next year.


Cite as:
. "Make visible dispersed and disappeared collections. The Invisible Museum : an AR 3D experience on smartphones and tablet computers.." MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015. Published April 6, 2015. Consulted .
https://mw2015.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/make-visible-dispersed-and-disappeared-collections-the-invisible-museum-an-ar-3d-experience-on-smartphones-and-tablet-computers/