The revival of Byzantine monuments, by introducing the technique of hybrid frescoes, so to reinstate them while building their social reintegration through a contemporary context.
Augmented and interactive installations, based on the conjunction of real and virtual space of the monuments.
Fulldome and i-dome immersive environments that simulate Byzantine basilicas, mapped with virtual frescoes.
Digital and interactive mechanisms & practices for transferring big data visualisation sets.
Transdisciplinary research of anthropological, ecological, cultural, and economic environments, for the redefinition of Byzantine culture in the modern society.
All projects are carried out with a specific methodology that facilitates the two cornerstones of Karoussos Archives initiative:
the reinstatement of the monument in regards to its authenticity,
the reintegration to the contemporary social environment. so to strengthen the collective memory and use it in all social aspects.
The methodology is comprised of four phases as follows:
PHASE 1: ASSESSMENT
Identifying the cultural environment serves both for analysing the area’s cultural heritage and for prioritising certain cultural aspects that are mostly related –albeit in various ways– to the natural environment. However, incorporating culture into conservation practice means that opportunities should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and always be deployed in a participative and transdisciplinary manner. This is because some cultural elements can be more easily tackled than others while, at the same time, efforts must respond to local specificities and context. In addition, since no single discipline can yield a full assessment of culture, one should investigate a wide spectrum of quantitative and qualitative methods that are provided by various disciplines.
PHASE II: DESIGN
The second phase focuses on the process of the estrangement and reinstatement of the Byzantine cultural schemata, which includes:
i. the extraction of the latter from their original context, defined by a specific operational structure that referenced in specific protocols, and
ii. the introduction of the schemata into the new context, with a high-level of hybridity, so that the estranged schema can be open to new interpretations.
The phase investigates those points in the Byzantine cultural schema that could be used as restore points, regarding their cultural context, so as to yield an effective dialogue with the contemporary framework, and its environment at large, imperative for their incorporation into the new cultural content. Moreover, it seeks the most effective applications that will be able to keep the dialogue open, so to lead to new insights for social engagement.
The hyper context resulted from this research makes a brand new meta-narrative of the Byzantine schema that can be transferred to its contemporary environment, embracing cultural, natural, social, and economic factors. The entire work of this phase is drawn from the Karoussos Archives cultural asset.
PHASE III: REINSTATEMENT
Applying the meta-narrative derived from the second phase is an integrated process. Both the paintings (frescoes) and the environmental setting should be aligned to the hyper context in order to enable the communication flow with the community. According to the second phase research, regarding the most suitable application, which could yield the entire Byzantine schema in the contemporary sense, Karoussos Archives selects the proper mechanism, from the following visualisation types:
i. Hybrid frescoes
Hybrid frescoes offer new vistas in Byzantine monumental art. The process concerns the remake of the original artwork and its re-composition, in order to serve the functional needs of each place. This work is based on the old fresco technique and is purely creative. Its purpose is to preserve the aesthetic quality of the frescoes via the meta-narrative, in terms of both the materials and work process. On the other hand, it maintains the pure essence of the monumental Byzantine art intact. Remaking is always done by the original work of the Karoussos Archives and is created through the creative fusion of analog and digital visual repository, as well as the creative editing of the synthesis and color stratification. The transfer uses Giclée Fine Art on 100% cotton canvas at 360 gr. Unlike the four-color offset process, traditionally used for such image transfers, the professionally produced Giclée, allows the total control of the colour management and of the substrates being used. Hybrid frescoes can be glued or hanged on the wall.
ii. Virtual frescoes
Virtual frescoes follow the same procedure as hybrid frescoes for their creation. However, the transfer has a totally different perspective as it uses projection mapping techniques which enable the virtual fresco to be mapped on the wall and other surfaces, creating the exact same sense of the old fresco wet plaster technique. Virtual frescoes are significant since they transfer along, the Byzantine geometric space with parabolic and hyperbolic structures.
iii. Immersive frescoes
Immersive frescoes, also with the same creative procedure, as hybrid and virtual, can be displayed without a specific architectural structure as they embed their own environment in different structures/devices:
A 360 pneumatic dome that simulates a single-naved basilica with a dome.
A hemispherical immersive environment
A circular cinematic setting for immersive experiences
The virtual reality glasses offer a personalised immersive experience.
PHASE IV: REINTEGRATION
Integrated efforts should aim to contribute to human wellbeing by providing opportunities for socio-economic development while respecting all the cultural elements. A vital part of any such strategy is to disseminate results to a wide audience and sensitise local people to take up the management process and assume responsibility on their own. It refers to aspects that pertain to the socio-economic dimension and outreach activities of management.
The new, innovative technique of Karoussos Archives for murals in private residencies, worship places, chapels and churches is the only unique transfer of Karoussos artwork at international level.
The high-fidelity remakes of Karousos Archives aim to rescue and disseminate the work of the late Yiannis Karoussos and the Byzantine monumental painting at large. With creative editing, high technology and innovative processing, the monumental artwork remains alive, avoiding its ever-growing erroneous copies and the danger of its extinction due to environmental conditions. Moreover, it creates promising vistas for the evolution of Byzantine monumental painting. Katerina Karoussos, is solely responsible for the creation and overall supervision of the frescoes.
I. MEASUREMENTS & BLUEPRINTS
Calculations, made by Karoussos Archives' crew, are used to define the special needs of the place, for the frescoes to be fully incorporate with the architecture, both in terms of the Iconographic programme and of the particularities of the place. The blueprint, together with the detailed technical report, cost evaluation and timetable is provided to the client. After the completion of the project, the visualisation of the blueprint is provided in 360 VR image.
II. IMAGE TRANFER
This stage involves the capturing of the original mural painting to be transferred, with on-site image capture. This work is carried out with a drone, to capture the –otherwise- inaccessible frescoes inside the churches. The vehicle records the frescoes at the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI), which defines digital production at 4,096x2,160 pixels (4K). In this way, the painting has the most accurate transfer, since DCI offers the highest degree of colour depth (12-bit 4: 4: 4).
In cases where the capturing surface is accessible, in terms of its height and curvature, the transfer is executed by a portable scanner. This device can scan evenly the entire surface with the entire range of colour layering. Without any focal point, or better with a multiple focal point reference, without any need of depth, the image gains the very properties of Byzantine art.
III. THE ENHANCED FRESCOES
IV. GICLEE FINE ART TRANFER (for Hybrid Frescoes)
The transfer uses Giclée Fine Art on 100% cotton canvas at 360 gr. Unlike the four-colour offset process, traditionally used for such image transfers, the professionally produced Giclée, allows the total control of the colour management and the substrates being used. Inkjet devices use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) colour process as a base but may have other added colour cartridges for better colour or black and white rendition (such as light magenta and light cyan, light and very light grey, even orange and green inks in addition to regular cyan, magenta yellow and black inks); these improve the apparent colour gamut and allow smoother gradient transitions and more accurate colours.
These features attest to the fullness the quality of the work, while their process is considered to be very close to the traditional fresco technique.
V. PLACEMENT & ON-SITE PAINTING
(for Hybrid Frescoes)
At the same time, on-site work is taking place so as to enable the placement of the canvas in its designated position. Canvas placement is a work which goes in parallel with on-site mural painting of the ornaments, the backgrounds and the final finish on the canvas itself.
VI. VIRTUAL & IMMERSIVE SETTINGS
When enhanced frescoes are placed in immersive environments the process of transferring requires projection mapping, 360 degrees conversion and other techniques which allow them to adapt immersive and augmented aspects.
While it provides a new perspective in the outstanding Karoussos' frescoes, the enhanced frescoes offer new vistas in Byzantine monumental art. The process of remaking concerns the makeover of the original artwork and its re-composition, to serve the functional needs of each place. This work is based on the old fresco technique and is purely creative. Its purpose is to preserve the aesthetic quality of the frescoes via a contemporary re-telling in terms of materials and work process. On the other hand, it maintains the pure essence of the monumental Byzantine art intact.
Remaking is always done by the original work of the Karoussos Archives and is created through the creative fusion of analog and digital visual repository, as well as the creative editing of the synthesis and color stratification. With the editing of the latter, the revival of some colors that have been used in Byzantine frescoes and have disappeared or been altered by the production process, such as azurite, red ochre, etc., is achieved.