Monday, 16 February 2015

The FACCE exhibition is inaugurated in Italy

Facial reconstructions of hominids accompanied by replicas of fossils. Photo: Massimo Pistore

Dear friends,

Dear friends,
It is with great joy that I communicate the opening of the exhibit "FACCE, i molti volti della storia umana" (FACES. The Many Visages of Human History). The press conference took place on Feb. 13th in Padua and the doors were opened to the general public in February 14th, 2015.

Facial reconstruction of a Homo georgicus. Photo: Massimo Pistore

I was honored to participate in the modeling of 27 facial reconstructions, which I will show below. An interesting fact to report is that all processes, from scanning of fossils and skulls to modeling and presentation of media (images, videos and augmented reality) were performed using only free and open source software.

3D printing St. Anthony bust donated by CTI Renato Archer and retouched by Brazilian artist Mari Bueno. In the background on the left we see the bust sculpted by the same saint made by Cremesini in 1995. Photo: Massimo Pistore
The story the exhibition however begins in 2012 when the idea to reconstruct the face of a small hominid dead at the young age came to thought. It was the Taung child, an Australopithecus africanus with 2.5 million years. Back then, a partnership was established between the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Padua, the association of Italian anthropologists Antrocom Onlusand the Arc-Team research group in Italy, which I am part of.
Opening the exhibition for the press conference. Photo: Alice Pagotto
The Taung Project was successful and I decided to extend the library of hominids reconstructed. I contacted the archaeologist Moacir Elias Santos, PhD and received hundreds of photographs of fossil replicas, which were 3D scanned and allowed for more than a dozen faces to be reconstructed. The result of this work was the exhibition "Faces of Evolution", organized by the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum at the city of Curitiba, Brazil and inaugurated on May 18, 2013.

Press conference in one of the rooms of the museum that is located next to the botanical garden Ortobotanico di Padova. By the table are Dr. Telmo Pievani and Dr. Nicola Carrara, both from the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Padua. Photo: Alice Pagotto
The idea the exhibition FACCE began to take shape still in 2013. It took months of discussions about the technologies and formats to be employed. Unlike the Brazilian exhibition, the Italian exhibition contemplates other fields, like a reflection on racism, the philosophical idea of what a face is, the masks covering one face with another one, the increase of species on the list of hominids and also the reconstruction of historic figures of Padua, which I had no idea of their identity at the time, and by the way, the last one was disclosed to me few months ago in late 2014.
Table composed for the presentation of exhibition FACCE.
To boost the interest of the general public on the exhibition we decided to present the face of the first paduan personality, the Portuguese Fernando Martins de Bulhões, who was to become a Franciscan and die as St. Anthony of Padua.

Exhibition app running on Android. For more details and download of the application click here. Photo: Luca Bezzi
St. Anthony's face had a such broad impact we even lost track of the materials published on this work. That is from February to June 2014 when we finally presented his bust  in Padua.

The organization of the exhibition was made by Dr. Nicola Carrara (far left) and Dr. Telmo Pievani (second from right Dr. Carrara)
The FACCE exhibition that it is now inaugurated was the result of a partnership between the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Padua, the Antrocom Onlus, the International Museum of the Mask "Amleto e Donato Sartori" and the group of archaeological research Arc-Team.

For this event I was entrusted to reconstruct 27 faces, 22 of them related to human evolution:

  • Sahelanthropus tchadensis
  • Ardipithecus ramidus
  • Kenyanthropus platyops
  • Australopithecus afarensis
  • Australopithecus africanus (Mrs. Pless and Taung child)
  • Australopithecus robustus (Paranthropus robustus)
  • Paranthropus boisei
  • Australopithecus sediba
  • Homo habilis
  • Homo ergaster (Turkana boy)
  • Homo erectus (H. pekinensis)
  • Homo neanderthalensis
  • Homo rhodesiensis (H. heidelbergensis)
  • Homo heidelbergensis (Bodo)
  • Homo floresiensis
  • Homo sapiens (Cro-Magnon)
  • Homo sapiens (Idautu)
  • Homo georgicus 1 (classic cast, Zvedza)
  • Homo georgicus 2 (old)
  • Homo georgicus 3 (Mzia)
  • Homo georgicus 5 (2005)
And other 5 somehow related in one way or another with the city of Padua:

  • Egyptian priest of the Roman period (the mummy with sarcophagus are part of the museum's collection)
  • St. Anthony of Padua
  • Luca Belludi (Beatified friend of St. Anthony)
  • Francesco Petrarca aka Petrarch (considered the father of humanism, creator of the sonnet, was the one who coined the term "dark ages" to the Middle Ages)
  • Giovanni Battista Morgagni (considered the father of Pathological Anatomy, he was a professor at the University of Padua for 56 years)

Soon I will create other posts with more information and pictures about the personalities and the technologies involved with the exhibition.

I am very pleased and honored with this event. It is indescribable the joy of seeing one's own works composing such a scenario. In addition to feeling extremely cheerful, I also see myself full of gratitude to a number of people and institutions that made it all possible. I leave here my thanks to all of them:

Luca Bezzi, Alessandro Bezzi, Dr. Nicola Carrara, Emma Varotto, Moreno Tiziani, Dr. Takeshi Nishimura (KUPRI), Dr. Jorge Vicente Lopes da Silva, Paulo Henrique Junqueira Amorim, Thiago Franco de Moraes, Dr. Moacir Elias Santos, Vivian Tedardi, Liliane Cristina Coelho, Dr. Paulo Eduardo Miamoto Dias, Dr. Rodolfo Francisco Haltenhoff Melani, Msc. Aleksandro Montanha, Daniel Douglas Ludwig, Teófilo Fábio Macedo, Mari Bueno, Luciano Aguiar Vendrame, Lis Caroline de Quadros Moura, Vanilsa Inez Pagliari, Elizangela Patrícia Pagliari e Elias Francisco Pagliari.


FACCE. I molti volti della storia umana. Una mostra open source (here in ResearchGate and here in Academia)

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