• 19 Dec 2016

The latest issue of British Art Studies sees a further incursion into the realm of the “digital humanities” with a three-dimensional model reconstructing a historic interior, which was commissioned for Catherine Roach’s article 'Rehanding Reynolds at the British Institution: Methods for Reconstructing Ephemeral Displays'. Challenged to explore the recreation process at first hand, Catherine has worked with the BAS team and George Voicke from Duck Duck Zeus, a London-based game design agency, to create a reconstruction of an exhibition that took place in London nearly two hundred years ago, using a PowerPoint presentation, a floor plan, and an unillustrated exhibition catalogue. The intriguing results raise many questions about how best to approach the reconstruction of lost spaces, which Catherine reflects on in her text.

'Reconstructions of historic exhibitions made with current technologies can present beguiling illusions, but they also put us in danger of recreating the past in our own image. This article and the accompanying reconstruction explore methods for representing lost displays, with an emphasis on visualizing uncertainty, illuminating process, and understanding the mediated nature of period images. These issues are highlighted in a partial recreation of a loan show held at the British Institution, London, in 1823, which featured the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds alongside continental old masters. This recreation demonstrates how speculative reconstructions can nonetheless shed light on ephemeral displays, revealing powerful visual and conceptual dialogues that took place on the crowded walls of nineteenth-century exhibitions.' - to read the rest of Catherine's article please click here.