School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Degradation profiles of silk textiles in diverse environments: Synchrotron based infrared micro-spectroscopy analysis
    Zhu, Z ; Tse, N ; Nel, P ; Tobin, M (Springer, 2017)
    In this paper, synchrotron based infrared micro-spectroscopy was utilized to describe the degradation profile of fibroin contained in silk textiles (Bombyx mori). The spatial distributions of deterioration effects in silk samples artificially aged at an assortment of conditions (thermal, hydrolytic and ultraviolet) were distinctly visualised and in accordance with the findings from conventional infrared spectroscopy in references. Further this method was applied on a historic sample from a private collection in Melbourne, and presented consistent results. This established synchrotron IR chemical mapping method could enable museum professionals to better understand the preservation state of historic silk and make informed decisions for conservation.
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    Retablos & Santos: ‘Altaring’ The Life Of Philippine Heritage Through Future Generations
    Harding, A ; Tse, N ; LABRADOR, A (Aula Barat and Faculty of Art and Design, Bandung Institute of Technology, 2018)
    This paper aims to examine the role of living cultural heritage to materials conservation and restoration of retablos and santos at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the Philippines (NMP) and the Parish Church of La Purísima Concepción in Guiuan. In researching the restoration practices of cultural communities that retablos and santos hold significance to, this paper is framed by textual analysis, and interviews with heritage, ecclesiastic and conservation professionals. With ever-increasing cultural homogenisation, the importance of conservators working towards preventing cultural identities from being absorbed by universal discourses and popular cultures are argued in this paper. In reflecting upon knowledge systems and communication platforms that support conservation, the exchange of knowledge, its usability and wide audience possibilities as necessary pathways to preserving memory for living and future generations will be focused upon.
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    Between Art and Heritage Conservation: An Examination of the Discipine, Profession and Professional Practice in Indonesia
    Tse, N ; Bakhri, S (Aula Barat and Faculty of Art and Design, Bandung Institute of Technology, 2018)
    Indonesia is witnessing a growth in the art market in addition to the increased protection of its national cultural heritage. This raises questions about the current position of art and heritage conservation as a profession, discipline, and professional practice in Indonesia to support the preservation of its ‘old culture (s)’. In addressing the themes of the conference, this paper examines the definition of conservation in Indonesia and explores the opportunities for the renewal of ‘old cultures’ for an Indonesian practice of conservation to emerge as distinct from other parts of the world. we argue that conservation should meet the ‘place-based’dimensions of tradition, living cultures, climate, materiality, and natural disasters. The approach used includes a literature review, archival research, policy analysis, and semi-structured interviews. The practices of neighbouring countries are also explored for comparative purposes. The results show that existing policies are in place to support the conservation of cultural materials in Indonesia; however, these do not address the development or sustainability of the profession and discipline for a shared thought style to emerge. The research also indicates that there is a distinct line of separation between the conservation of cultural heritage compared to the fine arts.
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    Exploring the Outlands: A Case-Study on the Conservation Installation and Artist Interview of David Haines’ and Joyce Hinterding’s Time-Based Art Installation
    Sherring, A ; Cruz, M ; Tse, N (Taylor and Francis Group, 2021)
    The artwork by David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, The outlands, 2011 is a time-based art installation composed of sculptural, software and gaming technology exhibited in a gallery space. The work was acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales after being awarded the 2011 Anne Landa Award Unguided Tours exhibition prize but has not been installed since. As such, any future iterations will be challenging due to its condition, functionality and machine dependency. This paper explores the value of installing Haines’ and Hinterding’s time-based art installation to chart the conservation assessment processes of documentation, functionality testing and the install itself. It discusses how in-situ artist interview affords artistic agency and contributes knowledge on the materials, conceptual and technical elements of the work, functional limitations and its future conservation management. The outcomes of the conservation interactions have allowed for a deeper understanding of conservation as a reiterative process as issues of software and hardware dependencies, and the situated and spatial relationships between various elements became more salient. This has assisted conservators in preparing for object obsolescence and aims to support future re-activations of The outlands, 2011.
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    Esteban Villanueva’sThe Basi Revolt paintings of Ilocos: Unlocking their material evidence
    Tse, N ; Balarbar, RA ; Esguerra, R ; Labrador, AMPTP (National Museum of the Philippines, 2020-11-01)
    The series of fourteen works that comprise Esteban Villanueva’s The Basi Revolt is examined historically and physically to have a clear idea of the paintings’ material authenticity, particularly necessary for conservation treatment. Among the questions dealt with involved the production and authorship, the extent of variation of the surface and paint layers, as well as the pigment types across all fourteen works. As The Basi Revolt is a series that depicts an important historical event in the Philippines, the course of conservation needs to be assessed as a whole, to reinstate a unified visual narrative. Methods used to attempt to answer these involved the examination of available historical records and the use of reflected raking and ultra-violet lights, microscopic magnification, and elemental analysis. To have a much stronger evidence-based understanding of The Basi Revolt, as well as of other early 19th century paintings by Filipino artists, setting up a database of the range of materials available and used during that time is essential for their conservation.
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    The potential role of citizen conservation in re-shaping approaches to murals in an urban context
    Kyi, C ; Tse, N ; Khazam, S (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016)
    Public visual spaces, populated by a blend of community murals, unauthorised street art, and historic painted mercantile signs, are often the mark of an urban environment that is both progressive and eclectic. Changes in the aesthetic and cultural value of these urban mural forms have led to an increase in the appreciation and, in some instances, promotion of their artistic merit and cultural significance as examples of public art. However, examining the significance of these works, with a view to implementing a conservation approach is problematic. This is due to a number of practical and theoretical considerations that are primarily a result of the ephemeral existence of urban murals outside conventional exhibition spaces, and issues associated with their often fragmented ownership and uncertain authorship. Consequently, larger thinking on the interpretation, conservation assessment, and advocacy for the conservation of urban murals are required. Key to defining and implementing such strategies is contextualising the public visual spaces that these murals occupy and, as part of this, the local and wider communities’ perception of these murals as culturally significant objects as well as fostering awareness and understanding of appropriate measures aimed at their conservation. This paper examines the role of citizen science, or crowd-sourcing, of local community members in establishing a conservation dialogue and generating conservation- relevant data on urban murals. It looks specifically at a project involving a collection of in situ historic painted mercantile signs — also known as ghost signs — in the City of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia. The project fostered the establishment of an informed and open dialogue between conservation specialists and participants from the local community on the significance of local ghost signs whilst transferring knowledge on conservation processes and assessment methods. Working directly with community members, a programme was designed in which conservation and community knowledge of these urban art forms, could be collected and exchanged across digital platforms. This enabled researchers to examine how citizen science can be utilised as a research tool as well as a means to advocate for the conservation of collections of urban murals. It created the opportunity to consider the role of non-specialists and shared authorities in the collection and collation of conservation- relevant data and how information generated from what we call citizen conservation projects, can inform the way in which conservators evaluate and prioritize the conservation of urban cultural heritage. The data gathered and interpreted proved to be the most effective means of ‘conserving’ these often ephemeral forms of cultural material.
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    Interviewing artists exhibited in The Field (1968): The use of acrylic paints in a seminal exhibition of Australian colour field painting
    Rajkowski, R ; Tse, NA ; Rozentals, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2016-01-01)
    Artist's interviews are a timely and important historical record of the technical significance of Australian colour field painting. The findings correlate and corroborate ongoing conservation research into the works featured in The Field, providing evidence to support the take-up and distribution of early acrylic paints in Australia. Overall, the artists' responses demonstrate a range of working methods and choice of materials. Col Jordan and Alun Leach-Jones were found to be fairly consistent with their choice of acrylic brands and technique, while other artists, like Ron Robertson-Swann, were more flexible and experimental in their approach. PVAC (polyvinyl acetate) paints were used along with, or in place of, acrylic emulsion paints for practical and economic reasons, revealing the challenges involved with investigating acrylic paints which emerged alongside a variety of other synthetic paints. These interviews reinforce the value of conservation enquiry to the field of art history and exhibition development.
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    Artists’ interviews and their use in conservation: reflections on issues and practices
    Cotte, S ; TSE, N ; Inglis, A (Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2016-12-21)
    Artists’ interviews are widely used in the conservation of contemporary art. Best practice is detailed in recent publications, conferences and workshops, however, there is little information on how to analyse the data collected, and the issues related to the dissemination and future access to the content. This article examines various techniques of analysis appropriated from qualitative research in the social sciences, and relates them to the intended uses of interviews in conservation. Drawing on a case study that involved interaction with an artist over several years, including interviews and informal conversations, this article argues that a conservators’ specific skills set has the capacity to interpret the findings and to understand the creative processes. It also highlights the importance of reflexivity and the public circulation of this interpretation, which is essential for the development of a sustainable practice of artists’ interviews in conservation.
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2018 Vol 39 Issue 1
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2018-01-02)
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    Editorial: AICCM Bulletin 2019 Vol 40 Issue 2
    Tse, N (Taylor & Francis Ltd, 2019-07-03)