Hi-storytelling: Street Museum & Speaking Stones!

Marion Lamé, Italy

Published paper: Hi-storytelling: Street Museum & Speaking Stones! A Study Case.

How could museums go down the streets, taking advantage of the historical primary sources, scattered everywhere, impossible to bring back inside the collections, such as inscriptions in situ or reused?

An inscription is a deliberate information system (IS) to communicate, that involves writing, displaying publicly its message. Originally, apart from few exceptions such as the epigraphs containing laws or ordinances, the epigraph is a kind of “stone storyteller”, that narrates something important for a community, a group, a family or an institution. Basically epigraphs of a city, in their original site, do not tell the story of the city, but the story of the citizens, divided into different social groups, families and parties. As such, inscriptions have many stories to tell: we need to build the digital museographic network among those talkative traces of the past, spread among cities, and also the society that keeps those traces of its own history[1].

Such IS depends intricately on an ambient display/“dispositivo epigrafico” that communicates its message. A digitized IS becomes multimedia, interactive, accessible and portable, as illustrated by the two study cases below.

1) During the Museomix 2012 the  “STORY STELEing” experiment shew how a latin inscription becomes again, after centuries, an accessible speaking-stone. It is a dramatic and emotional way to tell the story of Lucius Secundius Octavius” (CIL XIII, 2027).

2) A work in progress, by the L.S. degree in digital humanities led by Pr. Salvatori, is an interactive e-catalogue of medieval Pisa. This second case study illustrates another technological mediation, which implies to rethink the traditional catalogue for those outdoors exhibitions. It proposes a multimedia path (videos, 3d objects, html5) to a more alive tour of Pisa. The Camposanto chapter contains:

a) icono-textual preach with its largely lost epigraphic cartigli in Buffalmacco’s frescoes (zooming interactive fresco with photos prior to the 1944 bombing).

b) interactive presentation of 3d annotated inscriptions snapshots that shows interesting details and their explanations.prototype-agata-xml-3d-annotation

Inscriptions are more than a message: they give evidence of the history of the city. Inscriptions are a network that may extend beyond a single city, following the needs and problems of the people, such as the Phoenician merchant of Pozzuoli (IG XIV 830), who, in order to pay his fee had to contact his countrymen in Rome and the mother country. Rome and Pozzuoli can offer the same epigraphic evidence on two different viewpoints: that of the merchant and that of his countrymen who will respond negatively.

After the “Museum 2.0”, combining portable devices contents with augmented reality, GIS and social networks, people can interact with epigraphs and explore their changing places (Jewish district of imperial Rome) and functions through spaces and times[2] creating easily involvement[3] (i.e. museum board on Pinterest). Historical & pervasive digital mediation across the city opens the vast question of accessibility that does not depend only on digital.

[1] The tour «Pisa e l’Islam» illustrates this pervasive history: http://pisaeislam.humnet.unipi.it

[2] CIL, XI, 1422, «[—]MAE.MINORUM» reused to build up one of the pilars the cathedral of Pisa.cil-1422

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