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Im/materialities: International Conference – Postponed to 2021

IMMATERIALITIES - international conference
Museums between real and digital
Dal lunedì al sabato dalle ore 9:00 alle 18:30
IM/MATERIALITIES: museums between real and digital.

The symposium Im/materialities, whose dates will be announced shortly, intends to deepen some of the main topics developed and proposed by the temporary exhibition “Archeologia Invisibile” opened in March 2019 and now on view.

The exhibition explores objects and their own unique history, a sort of biography, whose clues are largely condensed into the very materials that they are made out of.

Archaeometry provides information about their materiality that would otherwise be inaccessible and invisible to the naked eye and that allows the researchers to fill the gaps on what is unknown about the history/biography of the objects (who made them, why, when, where, with what materials) in order to define, for instance, the best ways to preserve them.
With more than 40 scientific institutions involved in the project, the exhibition emphasizes the growing collaboration between Egyptology and Natural Sciences in the study of archaeological
artefacts and how archaeometry, increasingly employed by Museo Egizio as a standard method to question objects, is changing the way a collection can be explored, preserved and, finally,
presented to the visitors.

An openness to disciplines outside Egyptology is an indispensable prerequisite for the debate about these topics. Hence the desire to involve for the conference scholars from many fields of research: physical and cultural anthropologists, philosophers, sociologists, archaeologists, paleopathologists, heritage scientists, museum curators, museologists, AI specialists, and neuroscientists.

The conference will be divided into five sections:

  • In/tangible: in this first section Philosophy, Sociology, Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Material Sciences and History of Design compare researches, methods and experiences, to compose a transdisciplinary introduction to the nature of objects and, at the intersection of tangible and intangible heritage, their ability to activate (agency) and incorporate (object biography) experiences of culture over time.

  • In/visible: scientific investigations on ancient objects have resulted in a greater understanding of their materiality, producing new information useful in their preservation and for their historical meanings. Archaeometry, indeed, gives a different but complementary image of the objects, through the characterization and reconstruction of the object’s biography, analyzing the natural and artificial traces left during its lifetime. In this section scientists and egyptologists, who contributed with their research to the exhibition, outline the present and future theoretical and empirical framework of collaboration between Human Sciences and Natural Sciences.

  • Im/material: this section deals in particular with the main challenges and opportunities that the large amount of data generated by imaging and archaeometric activities represent for museum practice in the 21st century. From one hand, digital technologies allow the Museum traditional practice of copying originals to be enhanced in terms of complexity, durability, interaction and dissemination; from another hand they foresee in the digital objects (data-driven description of real objects reassembling all the scientific data in new digital schemes) the emergence of a new form of materiality, or “a trajectory of materiality that links our commonplace understanding of the digital to the analogue, information to material, system to structures, knowledge to form” (Geismar 2018). The contributions will also question the traditional exclusion of technology from culture exploring if, in the Museum practices, digital objects can be finally intended as independent and authentic cultural experiences in dialogue with the objects.

  • De/coded: the contributions of this section enlarge the previous topic to explore how a digital ecosystem is catalyzing new aThe contributions of this section enlarge the previous topic to explore how a digital ecosystem is catalyzing new and different forms of human agency in the cultural environment. The unprecedented availability of such a quantity of data and images of museum objects are meaningless without analytics to unlock connections and knowledge otherwise out of reach of human abilities alone. In the general framework of the digital transformation of cultural institutions, particular attention is deserved to AI and Big Data applications in the fields of collection management and scientific research and the most recent strategies to optimize digital impacts on museum engagement and outreach.

  • Un/perceived: the final section looks back at the relationship subject-object but this time addressing some questions concerning the former. When does our sense of time and beauty develop? What happens in the brain when we are faced with an ancient object or an artwork? When can digital technologies catalyze or disrupt cultural experiences? How can the dychotomy between real and digital being harmonized in an augmented perception of the world? A dialogue between Museology and Neuroscience will explore how museum strategies could support new understandings of the cultural heritage and, more in general, new experiences of the world of objects around us.


The complete program is being updated.



The language of the conference is English.


The scientific and organizational committee consists of:

Christian Greco, Museo Egizio, Turin

Enrico Ferraris, Museo Egizio, Turin

Paolo Del Vesco, Museo Egizio, Turin


For further information, please contact
IMMATERIALITIES - international conference
Museums between real and digital
Dal lunedì al sabato dalle ore 9:00 alle 18:30