Guillermo Sapiro on re-engineering art history

Guillermo Sapiro on re-engineering art history


>>SAPIRO: So the project is something I learned,
and this part of working with people in other disciplines. I learned that all the statues
that we see in the [NOISE] museums used to have color, but the color disappeared. So
we’re going to bring it back. You’re going to go to the Nasher for probably their anniversary
or slightly after, and Nasher has outstanding sculptures and you’re going to have-it’s already
working, it’s going through the final details. You’re going to have a tablet on your hand
and it’s going to be projecting culturally correct colors into those statues, so you
can get the feeling of the people from that time, how they saw the statues.
So we are-we actually-a couple of weeks ago, Caroline [ph], that is the art historian [NOISE]
basically brought an expert on the colors of that time, so we can project the historically
correct patterns or at least as far as our knowledge. But I have to say another thing,
this was designed by Caroline and myself and we are both very senior, but the actual class
was given by a junior professor in art history and one of my post-docs. So they were the
one, and all the students involved in the project were undergrads, graduates, and post-docs
that are developing this app. We are just going to enjoy it. But it was really led by
students and really junior faculty that also accepted our crazy idea somehow.
And we actually demo it last week to the new director of the Nasher, and I wish I could
film her. I mean we were scared that she’s going to say, “Just go home.” She was just-and
demoed just the demo with false colors and everything, and she was, again, another member
of the Duke community, “Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s just make it work.” That was the response
we got. So [NOISE] that’s what’s happening at Duke.
>>MODERATOR: Another great example of eng-you know, engineering involving where the students
did the coding but you-it’s a project you couldn’t do with engineering alone without
the connections that there were at Duke to art history and so on, so it’s another great
success story. I think if there’s a takeaway fro-from all
of this it’s that, you know, we have representative here of the old taxonomy of engineering, we
have electrical engineers and mechanical engineers and civil environmental engineers, but really
the Duke engineer of the 21st centur-century is the engineer that’s making the world sustainable,
more secure, more healthful, and more joyful.

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