|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, December 9, 2016
|Scientists Say Prehistoric Man Enjoyed 3D Cinema Too|
"Deer from the Ice Age" Foppe di Nadro. Valcarmonica, Lombardy, Italy. Photo Hamish Park, Prehistoric Picture Project 2009.
VIENNA.- As far back as the Copper Age our ancestors viewed "films" in an open air cinema setting - and, moreover, in 3D with surround sound. This conclusion arises from the discovery of sites containing prehistoric rock engravings, which provided an audio-visual experience to people from the time of Ötzi, the prehistoric iceman, to that of Roman Emperor Augustus. The largest European concentration of these engravings can be found in Valcamonica in Northern Italy. St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is part of a Cambridge led international project that uses the latest digital media technologies to bring to life the closest experience prehistoric peoples had to cinema.
True or false: The cinema was invented in the late 19th century? True, if one considers the modern forms of cinema. However, the original idea behind the cinematic experience, that is the use of visual and audio means to tell a story, would appear to be much older. Its invention probably extends back to the Chalcolithic period or Copper Age. This is precisely what the innovative "Prehistoric Picture Project", being carried out by St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, the University of Cambridge and the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, aims to prove using rather unusual methods.
The focus of the project is prehistoric rock engravings cut into the sides of the valley, on rock ground smooth by glacial action. The first question that arises, is why these particular locations were selected for the rock engravings. Up to now this has been a mystery to archaeologists. The thesis developed by Dr Frederick Baker, who leads the project along with the Cambridge world rock art specialist Dr Christopher Chippindale, is that the locations of the rock engravings were specially selected to offer the viewers a comprehensive visual and acoustic experience - a kind of prehistoric cinematic presentation. The researchers are now investigating this thesis using methods that are rather untypical for archaeologists: the very latest digital media technology from the areas of film and sound.
Copper Age Cinema
Dr Frederick Baker, who works at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and is a guest lecturer at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, explains how this prehistoric cinema experience might have unfolded: "In our view, the images that the Copper Age people engraved in the rock are not random in nature and constitute active components of an audio-visual performance. The viewer s eye encountered one rock image first and was then steered from there to other locations with other such images. Moving images were not yet available; however, sequences of images were generated as if they are in animation. Moreover, the images were viewed in a deliberately selected environment, which often provided a spectacular vista of the surrounding valley landscape. In addition to the visual sense, the ear was also taken into consideration as the rock images can frequently be found in locations with special echoes. Consequently, these images are not static snapshots but images that generated narratives in the minds of their viewers just like the cinema."
The rock-engraved "cinematic scenes" present, among other events, duelling, hunting scenes, houses and dancing people. It is interesting to note that death never appears in the images, and they rarely include women. The scenes - which represent the beginning of narrative art - were produced in the period between 2,500 and 14 BC. Thus, the rock images, which are distributed throughout Europe, extend from the very late Neolithic Age to Roman times. With 200,000 images, the highest concentration of such engravings is found in Val Camonica near the municipalities of Paspardo, Cimbergo, Nadro and Capo di Ponte in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. New field studies, which form part of the project, are being carried out there in September.
The Past Goes Digital
The research project makes use of the very latest digital media technologies. The rock art was filmed by Dr Baker with a crew from the Bauhaus University in Weimar lead by Professor Ben Sassen and Martin Saalfrank. The editing took place in Austria. The prize winning animator and project collaborator Michael Kren from the Institute for Media Production explains, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is making a major contribution to this investigation: "Using digital animation technology, we bring movement to the engraved images so they become a short animation film. One key question we can address is: how did the prehistoric people imagine movement in animals and human beings?"
In addition to animating the images, the researchers at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences are also breathing new life into the acoustic accompaniment to the images which existed at the time, and are breaking new scientific ground in the process. To this effect, the project makes use of archeoacoustics - a recently-developed field of research that focuses on the acoustic characteristics of archaeological sites - as field researcher and engineer Astrid Drechsler explains: "We check out the sound system of each prehistoric cinema and examine whether locations with rock images offer a particular acoustic. In many cases we cannot do this with our ears alone. But, for example, if an echo is completely drowned out by a nearby motorway then it can only be rediscovered with the help of complex noise filters." In this way, the modern media technology takes us back to the world s first open air cinemas, which were in no way inferior to modern cinema, according to Dr Baker, who has made award winning films for the Cannes Film festival and the BBC, ORF and Arte.
A special feature of the Prehistoric Picture Project with the participation of St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is the close partnership between the science and art. For example, at the beginning of the project, alphorn and trumpet players - like Christopher Well from the Bavarian folk music group the "Biermösl Blosn" - were invited to check whether an echo actually exists at the sites where the rock engravings were found. In addition, artists have also been invited to explore the prehistoric cinema and adopt it as an inspiration for artistic works. The initial results of this process can be viewed in the Klangturm St. Pölten gallery until November. An exhibition in Cambridge entitled "Pitoti" - the name given to the rock engravings in Valcamonica - will follow at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 2011.
July 8, 2010
J. Paul Getty Museum Acquires Turner Masterpiece at Sotheby's for a Record $45.10 Million
Moscow Curators Face 3 Years in Prison for 2007 Exhibition
Researchers Find that Early Humans Ventured Farther North than Thought
Subway System Excavations Important for Archaeology
German Artist Gunter Demnig Revives Names of Holocaust Victims
Scientists Say Prehistoric Man Enjoyed 3D Cinema Too
Pipilotti Rist Presents New Works at Fundación Joan Miró
Paintings by New York Based Artists at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art
Gallery Launches Appeal to Secure First British Portrait of a Black African Muslim
SOFA WEST: Santa Fe 2010 Opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center
Rare Opportunity to View Seminal Event in the History of Chinese Painting
Mika Rottenberg's New Video Installation Debuts at SFMOMA
General Wolfe Triumphs Again, Painting Sells for 400,000 Pounds
Tenby Museum & Art Gallery Acquires Rare and Personal Gwen and Augustus John Material
Kendell Geers Presents an In Situ Production-Action in Murcia, Spain
White Cube Looks at the Pivotal Role of Drawing in Current Practice
"Good Design" in Europe and America, 1850-1950 at the Smart Museum
The Great Kings of India to Hold Court at the Art Gallery of Ontario
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Dutch National Museum of Ethnology says ancient Mixtec skull a forgery
2.- Sotheby's Russian Art Sales soar over estimate to £13.8m / $17.2m
3.- Pirelli's new 'feminist' calendar sexes up the wrinkles
4.- Black Death burial pit found by archaeologists at English 14th-century abbey
5.- It's a squeeze, but Paris Impressionist museum is still a hit after 30 years
6.- Versailles presents the infinite variety and ingenuity of entertainment in the court
7.- Van Gogh Museum rules out debate over 'lost' notebook
8.- Wife of Putin aide shocks with Holocaust-themed skating routine
9.- A visitor's guide to Art Basel Miami Beach and beyond
10.- President-elect Donald Trump, politics on the mind at Art Basel Miami Beach
Austrian avant-gardist Curt Stenvert is subject of exhibition at Vienna's Belvedere
After Renovation, Vienna Academy of Fine Arts Reopens
VIENNAFAIR 2011 Announces Georg Schöllhammer as New Artistic Director
Austrian Panel Recommends Restitution of Four Works of Art
Painting: Process and Expansion From the 1950s till Now at MUMOK
Thirty Artists Contribute New Works for Exhibition at Vienna's Secession
Rudolf Leopold, Austrian Art Collector, Dies Today at 85
Marilyn Manson and David Lynch Open Exhibition at Kunsthalle in Vienna
World's Largest Gold Coin Sells for $4 Million
Sculptural Installations by Francis Upritchard at Vienna's Secession
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.