Monday 3 July 2017

Faces and FACCE much more than two exhibitions

I met the staff of Arc-Team in 2011, it is an archaeological research company that works mostly with free software. My first contact was through a post about photogrammetry, that is, the technique of scanning a 3D object using photographs.

Although not so distant, that year I knew little about 3D scanning, 3D printing, reconstruction of CT scans and even, almost nothing about forensic facial reconstruction.

I started almost parallel studies of photogrammetry and facial reconstruction and, thanks to the good relationship I developed with the Arc-Team staff, I was able to put these two fields together in a very nice project, the reconstruction of the face of the Taung Child in 2012.

This project was a partnership between Arc-Tem, myself, the University of Padova and the NGO Antrocom. We barely imagined future ramifications of all this.

Encouraged by the technical repercussion of this first attempt, I began to outline a new project, this time, having the archaeologist Moacir Elias Santos in the team. Together with him and supported by the Egyptian Museum and Rosicrucian, we organized the first exhibition of facial reconstruction applied to human evolution, called Faces of Evolution, which was inaugurated in 2013.

Inspired by this exhibition, the Arc-Team and the Museum of Anthropology of the University of Padova started a new venture, an exhibition focused on the human face and our ancestors of evolution. Your name: FACCE - i molti volti della storia umana.

While the Brazilian exhibition was composed of 11 posters and replicas of reconstructions, the Italian exhibition would have 27 facial reconstructions, 5 of them historical and 22 evolutionary, as well as other environments that would touch the various facets of a face, around the world, At different times and in different philosophical approaches.

Still at the end of 2013 I was in charge of reconstructing the face of St. Anthony of Padua. This reconstruction marked the whole year of 2014, since the work was news on the main TV channels in Brazil and Italy, even extrapolating the limits of those being published in 18 languages!

The FACCE show was finally inaugurated in early 2015, and in the face of its success, it was extended until the end of that year.

In 2016, using the same material from this show, with the addition of a new hominid, Homo naledi, Facce da Evoluzione exhibition was auctioned in Genoa.

Now, in 2017, I decided to make a survey, about the direct and indirect repercussion of this work, which began in 2012 and little by little took our technique to the four corners of the world. For this, I created a clipping with all the reports involving the reconstructions I worked with, as well as the languages in which they were published. Why languages? Because it would be simply impossible to organize all this based on the countries or media. By focusing on the languages, we attest to how far the work has come.

The work that had more occurrences in different languages was the reconstruction of Paranthropus boisei, carried out in 2013, 21 in total. Then, the already mentioned face of Santo Antonio and Homo erectus, both with 18 occurrences. In the table above we can see the other works and their numbers.

The total was 43 different languages, which together total 5.26 billion speakers, meaning a considerable part of the world can read the news stories with our work!

The languages with the highest occurrence were English and Portuguese, which appeared in 15 citations of the 15 selected terms. A little behind appears the Spanish (14), followed Italian (14), Russian (11) and Turkish (9).

The most impressive, was to attest that important sites such as the BBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, Scientific American, Science News, Wired, RAI, Globo TV, Encyclopedia Britannica, The Washington Post, Science News and Homo naledi  and Australopithecus sediba own discoverer, Dr. Lee Berger, shared stories by way of illustration of reconstructions made for the exhibits covered in this post.

The Arc-Team group always has the mantra to share the results of the work, so all reconstruction images were donated to the Wikimedia Commons under free license. That was one of the main factors for all this repercussion.

The work does not stop here, there is much to come and many fruits will emerge as a result of research in the field of facial reconstruction of modern men and ancestors of human evolution. The knowledge that I gained in the facial approach of these fossils has helped me even in one of the areas that I work professionally, the planning of facial surgeries, as well as accident monitoring tools. It seems unlikely that such separate areas have points in common, but they are more numerous than you might think.

As a member of this fantastic team I can only say that we have achieved our main goal, which was to make our work accessible and to make it free so that as many people could use them. May the next come!

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