The Infill: 29 October 2015

The Infill: seeping through the cultural cracks

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It’s been an oddly slow news month. Either the cultural heritage world has been too hard at work and too busy to publish, or everyone’s been slacking off. We’re guessing it’s the former, which is why you all deserve a nice long break. Why not treat yourself to a coffee and an edible citrus Sistine Chapel, engage in a bit of ‘Easy Yoga for Conservators‘, and then spend the next half hour watching this month’s featured video. Just tell the boss The Gathering said it’s ok.

Those German conservators in Cairo aren’t slacking off

It’s been one of the biggest news stories of the year: that broken beard (a beard which, now that we think about it, was a pretty damned impressive follicular feat for a sickly 18-year-old). Sparking worldwide outrage and derision in equal measure, the unfortunate episode dominated the headlines… and then the trail went a bit cold. But at the end of September we learned that the mask was being taken off display (you mean it had been on display this whole time? epoxy and all??) in preparation for conservation by a team of specialists from Germany, with the job expected to be finished by the end of 2015. You can check out a video update from last week, which is admittedly not all that informative. But hey, it’s always fun to watch conservators at work (‘yes, it would be’, grumbles your boss as she watches you read The Infill on the CCTV monitor in her office – tee hee!).

In fact, let’s just call this ‘The Fun Issue’

When an article is headlined ‘Drunken Ancients and Mummy Restoration‘ you just know you’re going to read it. And the authors here haven’t bait-and-switched you to some lame and speculative piece about some old dude buried with a wine goblet and an anvil (‘why, this is definitive proof that all 13th-century blacksmiths were alcoholics’). These ‘Best GIFs from #MusGIF Day‘ made us literally (and we do actually mean ‘literally’, as in… sigh… how the term was once properly used) laugh out loud. Well, maybe it was no more than a chuckle, but we’re not sure COL is ever going to catch on.

You may have heard about the recent trend for adult colouring books. You might even be colouring some yourself. Now Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has started a campaign to encourage visitors to put down their mobile devices, wander the museum and learn how to draw in order to engage more meaningfully with art. Dare we say that sounds like fun? And if you really want to test your creative limits, you might draw inspiration from these 17th-century bird books… with real feathers! Just please, please don’t do what this rare bird researcher did… to a rare bird.

Serious – but fun too!

Because everyone loves a palimpsest: it’s a somewhat lengthy article, but it’s fascinating to read on and watch as hidden words and images appear before your very eyes. And if you’re a serious art lover, look on at Gustav Klimt’s paintings, come to life. But whatever you do, do not – we repeat, do not – miss the Chemical Party: who said chemistry can’t be fun?

Finishing with a bit of spooky fun

Someone’s got it in for Ohio: last month we told you how the citizens of Toledo had been terrorised by a giant rolling ball. And now it would seem Claude Monet is haunting the Cleveland Museum of Art. But he actually seems rather benign in the photographic ‘evidence’, unlike the individuals in some of these downright disturbing Victorian photo trick shots and post-mortem portraits. Aaaaghhhh!!!

Your video treat:

follows on from our Facebook post on the Golden Ratio. For a brilliant two-minute tutorial on the ratio, where better to look than to Donald Duck? (start at 8:26 – but we guarantee you’ll want to rewind and watch the whole thing!).

The final word…

… goes to one of the German conservators working on Tutankhamun’s beard, who advised Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities: the damage was reversible, although using the glue had “not been the best solution”. Understatement, you give us so much joy!

We hope we’ve got you relaxed and mellow and ready to get back to work. Or maybe you should just call it a day – go home, get into your jammies and watch rubbish television until bedtime. But don’t get too complacent and off your guard. Something wicked this way comes… be prepared to be scared! 

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