Temporal Ripples in Art/Archaeology Images (in colour)

Ian Dawson, Andy Jones, Louisa Minkin and myself have just published an edited volume titled: Diffracting Digital Images: Archaeology, Art Practice and Cultural Heritage (Published December 28, 2021 by Routledge 224 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations. ISBN 9780367486556 )

Chapter 7 Temporal Ripples in Art/Archaeology Images by Simon Callery, Ian Dawson and Paul Reilly has a number of b/w images which in an ideal world would be printed in colour. We would like to share these colour images below.

Colour Figure 7.1 Raindrop diffraction patterns and canvas washing. River Severne, Maverley (Simon Callery copyright 2020. DACS – All Rights Reserved)
Colour Figure 7.2 Temporal diffraction patterns displayed using RTI Viewer
Colour Figure 7.3 Simon Callery developing a contact painting panel in an excavation trench
Colour Figure 7.4 Simon Callery in his Purfleet studio (Simon Callery copyright 2020. DACS – All Rights Reserved)
Colour Figure 7.5 H-RTI frame of Flat Painting Bodfari 14/15 Ferrous, Sinon Callery 2014-15, canvas, distemper, thread, wood, and aluminium, 293 x 182 x 19 cm (Simon Callery copyright 2020. DACS – All Rights Reserved)
Colour Figure 7.6 Simon Callery studio: H-RTI detail of panels in progress (Simon Callery copyright 2020. DACS – All Rights Reserved)
Colour Figure 7.7 Specular enhancement RTI detail of Simon Callery’s Flat Painting Bodfari 14/15 Ferrous.
Figure 7.8 RTI of PLAg (Dawson 2020), polylactic acid on aluminium on plywood base, 20 x 12 x 82 cm
Colour Figure 7.9 Sceen grab of a remote dirty RTI session in Ian Dawson’s plastic studio
Colour Figure 7.10 Remote dirty-RTI entanglement – memories of its iterative reconfigurings – ‘diffraction patterns of be(com)ing

Diffracting Digital Images Book Description

Digital imaging techniques have been rapidly adopted within archaeology and cultural heritage practice for the accurate documentation of cultural artefacts. But what is a digital image, and how does it relate to digital photography? The authors of this book take a critical look at the practice and techniques of digital imaging from the stance of digital archaeologists, cultural heritage practitioners and digital artists.

Borrowing from the feminist scholar Karen Barad, the authors ask what happens when we diffract the formal techniques of archaeological digital imaging through a different set of disciplinary concerns and practices. Diffracting exposes the differences between archaeologists, heritage practitioners and artists, and foregrounds how their differing practices and approaches enrich and inform each other. How might the digital imaging techniques used by archaeologists be adopted by digital artists, and what are the potentials associated with this adoption? Under the gaze of fine artists, what happens to the fidelity of the digital images made by archaeologists, and what new questions do we ask of the digital image? How can the critical approaches and practices of fine artists inform the future practice of digital imaging in archaeology and cultural heritage?

Diffracting Digital Images will be of interest to students and scholars in archaeology, cultural heritage studies, anthropology, fine art, digital humanities, and media theory.


Different expressions of the same mode: apprehending the world through practice, and making a mark

TAGsoton next week. I’m presenting in session 5 with my friend and collaborator Stefan Gant from the Department of Fine Art in the University of Northampton.

We will explain more in the session I’m co-Organising with Gareth Beale who is Digitally Creative in Archaeology at the University of York

If you are at TAG on Wednesday 21st December 2016 Please join us in Session 5 & 10

S5. Digital Visualisation beyond the Image: Archaeological Visualisation Making in Practice

This is the abstract for our paper

Different expressions of the same mode: apprehending the world through practice, and making a mark

In this paper we discuss pertinent features of shared experience at the excavations of an Iron Age Hillfort at Bodfari, North Wales, referencing artist, archaeologist and examples of seminal art works and archaeological records resulting through the collaboration. We explore ways along which archaeological and artistic practices of improvisation become entangled and productive through their different modes of mark making. We contend that marks and memories of artist and archaeologist alike intra-actively emerge through the object of study, the tools of exploration, and the practitioners themselves, when they are enmeshed in the cross-modally bound activities of remote sensing, surveying, mattocking, troweling, drawing, photographing, videoing, sound recording, and so on. These marks represent the signatures of the often anonymous practitioners, the voice of the deposits as well as the imprint of the tools, and their interplay creates a multi-threaded narrative documenting their modes of intra-action, in short their practices. They occupy the conceptual space of paradata, and in the process of saturating the interstices of cognitive artefacts they lend probity to their translations in both art form and archive.

Qian specular.jpg

RTI of seminal artwork by stefan “Linear Phrasing, Gant, S. 2016. Card” Here I’m reappropriating my hand gestures and illuminating them virtually…

CfP TAG2017 Session – Digital Visualisation Beyond the Image: archaeological visualisation making in practice

 TAGSoton Call for Papers are open until 15 Nov 2017 

I’m organising a session with Gareth Beale on

“Digital Visualisation Beyond the Image: archaeological visualisation making in practice”


The emergence of digital visualisation and representation has led to some of the most significant developments in archaeological practice of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. While a great deal has been written about digital visualisations, very little has been written about the way in which they are produced. This session constitutes an exploration of the diverse and often highly personal stories of practice which constitute digital visualisation making. We will examine the craft of digital visualisation making in its  broadest sense, allowing for wider and more nuanced connotations (e.g. imagination and conceptualisation) and for other mechanisms for receiving impressions or conceiving representations of things, in other words multi-modalities of perception including haptic, sonic and olfactory stimuli. We invite contributions which question the passive and neutral character of the visualisation maker and which draw attention to human variability in perception. We are also keen to include explorations of teaching, learning and translation.

Contributions from across the spectrum of archaeological visualisation making are encouraged including practitioners in “artisitic”, “scientific” and “interpretative” styles. We also wish to highlight the importance of ‘non-expert’ digital visualisation making and the role of digital visualisation in everyday archaeological discourse.

Got to http://www.southampton.ac.uk/tag2016/index.page submit your proposal

Theoretical Archaeology Group conference (TAG2016) theme – “Visualisation”

This year the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, TAG 2016, will be hosted by the University of Southampton, 19th-21st December; another significant event to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Archaeology. The overarching theme for the conference is “Visualisation”.

What is Visualisation? 

Most dictionary definitions focus on notions of image and picture making.  Strictly defined in modern terms, visualisation means to form a mental image of something invisible or unseen. However, a richer interpretation of visualisation is to regard it as a means of making something, or phenomena, perceptible or comprehensible to the human mind. This broader conception of the term allows for wider and more nuanced connotations (e.g. imagination and conceptualisation) and other mechanisms for receiving impressions or conceiving representations of things. It also makes it clear that visualisation is neither passive nor neutral and draws attention to human variability in perception; teaching, learning and translation are also implicated.

This broader reading of the meaning of visualisations is implicitly recognised by many in the visualisation community who are compelled to differentiate their version of ‘visualisation’ using prefixes such as “artisitic”, “scientific” and “interpretative”.

Our first question for TAG 2016 Southampton is therefore “what does visualisation mean to you?”

Archaeology and Technology

Digital Archaeology 1100101

One of the things which we will be looking at in this blog is the relationship between archaeology and technology. Archaeological computing as a sub discipline has existed since the 1950s and has provided an academic space for people wishing to develop digital methodologies for archaeology. During this time though the role of digital technology in our lives has changed fundamentally. Computers have gone from being inaccessible and specialist instruments to being relatively common to being ubiquitous. Not only have computers become more accessible they have also become a normal part of our everyday lives. Every day people negotiate strategies for living which are inherently digital with software and hardware developed in order to meet the demands of our digital lives. Archaeological computing now faces the challenge of responding to the innately digital character of everyday life. How do we devise new methodological approaches which capitalise on the fact that…

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