Wired! Lab and Digital Heritage

The Wired! Lab for digital historical visualization and reconstruction projects grew out of courses taught in Art, Art History & Visual Studies and Classics. A core group are exploring the use of 3D modeling, mapping, and other technologies to reconstruct architectural sites, demonstrate change over time, and contextualize historical objects in space. My focus in the lab is on the various technologies of representation we are using to create our virtual artifacts, with special attention to database, mapping, and the use of virtual environments to create annotated models in context. I am part of the Visualizing Venice team, and also bringing in aspects of the Digital Durham 3.0 and Crystal Palace projects into the Lab as case studies and potential future course and/or workshop focii.

Incidentally, we teach workshops on the various Google products – Sketchup, Earth etc. – targeted at humanities scholars interested in change over time. Watch the Wired! site for information about upcoming activities.

More on the Wired! Lab

  • Visualizing Cities in Barcelona

    On July 5, 2017 I gave a talk sponsored by the City Museum of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Landscape Intervention and Heritage Management MA Program. The talk, “Smartscapes: Urban Heritage in the Era of the

    Digital Society,” explored a range of possible approaches augmented reality offers to urban exploration.

    In two days of follow-up workshops on July 6-7, I worked with Master’s students on their project ideas and introduced a variety of digital storytelling tools. We will continue to explore the idea of a Visualizing Barcelona project in the coming years.


  • NC Jukebox visits Western North Carolina

    On April 22, 2017 Terry McKinney and his band hosted a special concert at the Orchard’s at Alta Pass. The NC Jukebox team, led by Trudi Abel from Rubenstein Library and myself,  were the featured guests. Our students presented some of the research they had done on the singers and songs of the collection, sharing an interactive timeline and some of the music clips and information they had gathered. We also set up a small version of the exhibition we had hosted in Rubenstein back at Duke.

    In turn, some of the descendants of the singers were in attendance and told stories about their family member’s and their performances. The band played songs we had re-discovered in the archives and people jumped up and danced!


  • Digital Durham: Past, Present, Future Rebooted!

    Great News! Digital Durham: Past, Present, Future – a reboot of the now “historic” Digital Durham website and project – has been funded by Bass Connections: Information, Society & Culture + the Education and Human Development tracks, along with the Franklin Humanities Institute, for 2017-18! Trudi Abel and I will be upgrading the website, working on a high school AP history model focused on Durham, teaching an intro to DH course themed on Digital Durham where we work with maps, journals, photos, ledgers, etc. etc., and work with the students to develop all sorts of interesting new projects based on existing and new archive content. All of this will be in partnership with Rubenstein Library’s Special Collections and in coordination with the Duke Digital Humanities Initiative work at FHI. I’m also hoping our revamped DD website will serve as a hub for all sort of other interesting “Durham-as-a-Lab” projects, which we know are percolating all around campus. Stay tuned for more….This project will also tie in nicely to the Visualizing Cities work I’ve been doing in Venice and Durham, especially the location-based mobile experience design work… Fun fun fun!

  • Amsterdam talk on Visualizing Venice and Cultural Approaches to DH

    Just back from giving a talk called “Digital Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Opportunities” in Amsterdam, where I talked about VV, Wired, and a bit about our thinking in making the version 1 of Ghett/App. I was invited by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam program in Art and Culture and Research Institute CLUE+, along with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Such an great opportunity to discuss the intersection of DH with cultural heritage with these colleagues. I learned a lot about how such work in conceived in the Netherlandish context, and now have extreme envy for any academics who get to work with them and their resources! Trying to figure out a way do do a “Visualizing Cities: Amsterdam” project in the future…. I shared top billing with potted plans, and also debuted a rather silly but useful to make radial diagram designed to illustrate the interconnections of disciplines that go into VV.

    Blog coverage of my talk (in Dutch).




  • Visualizing Venice 2016 and Ghett/App Launch


    I had the opportunity to teach the VV Summer Workshop version 5.0 this year. I was joined by my colleagues from the Wired Lab, Mark Olson, Hannah Jacobs, Ed Triplett along with Ludovica Galeazzo, whom we have worked with on various Visualizing Venice projects over the years. While prior versions of the workshop were also great, we had an exceptional experience this time in terms of overall quality and commitment. Through the generous support of the Getty Foundation we have been able to bring together an ever-more competitive applicant pool, and we also made sure we had time to delve into the students’ individual project plans in hopes of tracing direct and lasting impacts from our interventions.

    This year was special because we were holding the workshop in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of the Venetian Ghetto’s founding. Our Italian colleagues put together a major exhibition at Palazzo Ducale, and our workshop group had the great fortune to visit during the opening weekend.

    At the same time, I worked with collaborators Paolo Borin, Università degli Studi di Padova, and Ludovica Galeazzo, Università Iuav di Venezia, in putting together a mobile app to be used on-site in the city. We experimented with different ways to present historical materials reflecting the lived experience of the space at different historical periods. Our final product,  Ghett/App 1.0 is available for download now.  Other colleagues developed another map-based tool, MAPPot, which focused on locating some other exhibition content within the city. We advertised both together at the exhibition.

    Ghetto_Pixart_Page_1 Ghetto_Pixart_Page_2








    Our biggest challenge was finding ways to overlay panoramas of the past and present in order to convey the sense of enclosure, densification, and change the region experienced, while still encouraging active engagement with the site today.

    I will continue to develop these augmented reality and rich media content pieces of the project while I am teaching in Venice in Fall 2016.

  • NC Jukebox at HASTAC and DH2016

    Looking forward to sharing the NC Jukebox project at HASTAC in Tempe, AZ and at DH2016 in Krakow!




    HASTAC is always a great experience, of course.  I’m also exceptionally excited for the latter, however, both because getting conected to the international, big-tent DH community is great – and b/c Krakow is one of the family’s ancestral homelands. Will there be time to find out about my great-great-great (maybe a couple more greats in there?) grandfather who had some sort of military leadership role in the Tatra Mountains sometime back in the day, according to our late great-Aunt?  How do I even begin to figure that one out? Back to the archives….

    This makes me wonder about how much useful overlap there might be between digital cultural heritage and ideas of personal identity and histories as they relate to variously-hyphenated descendants. There is so much crowd-sourced, navel-gazing energy in the latter arena. Could it be deployed for DCH in academically useful ways?

  • Digital Cultural Heritage as Public Humanities Collaboration

    In a couple of weeks I will be leading a session called “Digital Cultural Heritage as Public Humanities Collaboration” at the College Art Association’s annual conference in Washington DC. We have a fantastic panel of presenters who will share their projects in a “project fair” and then we will switch over to a roundtable discussion format. Join us!

    Session Site


    Time: 02/04/2016, 2:30 PM—5:00 PM
    Location: Washington 1, Exhibition Level

    Chair: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke University

    The Regium Lepidi Project 2200
    Maurizio Forte, Duke University; Nevio Danelon, Duke University

    Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Bombs. Restoring the Monumental Landscape of South Italy (The Kingdom of Sicily Image Database)
    Caroline A. Bruzelius, Duke University

    Experimenting with 3D Visualizations of the Lost 17th Century Labyrinth of Versailles
    Copper Frances Giloth, University of Massachusetts

    Mapping Ararat and Beyond: Augmented Reality Walking Tours for Imagined Jewish Homelands
    Louis P. Kaplan, University of Toronto; Melissa Shiff, York University

    MQUADRO: a Platform Model for Cultural Heritage
    Stefania Zardini Lacedelli, Regole of Ampezzo, Cortina; Giacomo Pompanin, ADOMultimedia, Cortina

    Playing the Scales: the Human Scale in Digital Data Visualization
    Radu Leon, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Università Iuav di Venezia

    Program in Interactive Cultural Technology (PICT): a Partnership between New Mexico Highlands University and the New Mexico State Department of Cultural Affairs
    Kerry Loewen, New Mexico Highlands University

    The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity
    Diana Ndiaye, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian

    Discussant: Mark J.V. Olson, Duke University

  • Wired! and Visualizing Venice: Scaling up Digital Art History

    Kristin Lanzoni, Mark Olson and I recently published an article in Artl@s about the Wired! lab projects. This gives a nice overview of the range of approaches we take, in particular how we tie together teaching and research to develop our own brand of digital art history.


  • SLSA 2014

    I gave a paper called “Augmented Humanities Practice: the Fluid Site of Annotation” at SLSA in Dallas, October 9-12, 2014. It was great to see all those watery metaphors activated across the various panels!

  • Fall 2014 Teaching

    This Fall I’m teaching two fun courses. The first, “Digital Cities and the Cartographic Imagination,” is something I taught last year in Venice. It feels rich and luxurious to have all these local resources at our disposal to make Durham our “lab” once again for the hands-on bits. Venice is fantastic, but so is having direct access to Rubenstein’s archival materials, and my terrific colleagues in the Data and Visualization Services lab as we work through the details. Also very nice to have access to my personal library again too as I tweak the readings.

    That is even more true for my new adventure – teaching Proseminar 1 for our new Wired! Lab MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization! This course is very hands-on, and we’ll be using “live” datasets from Durham, Venice, other Wired! Lab projects, and I hope the students themselves. This all-grad course has a mix of MA students and people from various other humanities disciplines, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with together this semester…including those magic AR books and buildings I was so excited about in the Spring.