Scientific infrastructure for art-historical monuments in East Central Europe (FoKO)

Project Leader Herder Institute: Prof. Dr. Peter Haslinger, Dr. Dietmar Popp
Project Leader Foto Marburg:
Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher, Dr. Christian Bracht
Project Leader GWZO Leipzig:
Prof. Dr. Christian Lübke, PD Dr. Jiří Fajt

Project Coordination:  Dr. Ksenia Stanicka-Brzezicka

Project Staff Foto Marburg: Michael Buchkremer M.A., Kamila Bojarska M.A., Silvia Popa M.A.
Project Staff GWZO Leipzig: Dirk Suckow M.A.
Project Staff Herder Institute: Dr. Emilia Kłoda

Funding: Senatsausschuss Wettbewerb (SAW) der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft
Duration: 07/2014 – 09/2017

Rathaus, Löwenberg, Polen
Katholische Kirche Sankt Hedwig, Wahlstatt, Polen
Katholische Kirche Mariä Himmelfahrt und Sankt Johannes der Täufer, Heinrichau, Polen

The international collaborative research project “Monuments and artworks in East-Central Europe Research Infrastructure”, funded by the Leibniz Association, pursues the aim of building an interactive art historical research infrastructure, with which methods, concepts and products of digital art history can be applied and tested. The FoKO project focuses on the particular achievements of the artistic production of East-Central Europe, a region characterized by complex historical dynamics. The transnational integration of catalogued data and images will lead to creation of the knowledge portal. It will present the multiple interrelations of the artistic development in East-Central Europe between 1000 and 1800, cultural and historical references. The Research Infrastructure will serve as a basis for analyzing monuments, artworks and their functions, as well as artistic categories. It can help to understand the phenomena in their European context and it will enable a comparative view of the history of style and tradition, cultural transfer, patronage and network-building amongst artists and architects.

The project is closely tied to the publication project “Guide to the History of Art of East-Central Europe” of the Centre for the History and Culture of East-Central Europe (Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas – GWZO) at the University of Leipzig.

In the framework of the project, the photo campaigns will provide a new standardized image material to supply the publication with illustrations. Furthermore, the FoKO project will use images from the collections of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East-Central Europe, the German Documentation Center for Art History – Photographic Image Archive Marburg (Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg) and foreign partners: the art history departments of the Polish, Slovakian and Hungarian Academies of Sciences.

The project takes up several challenges which documentation institutions such as image archives are facing today. It will combine the documentation of the monuments and artworks on the international level with the professional image material. The illustrations will be the result of a digitization of historical images along with a generation of new photographs of cultural heritage. The project will also provide the modern, user-oriented open knowledge portal for scientific and private use. The FoKO project has been also connected to the transnational network of institutions which cooperate to create and document “traditional” as well as digital products (photographs) according to international standards. It will confront the problem of the changing usage of image sources in the historical and cultural sciences.

The Scientific Communication Infrastructure (WissKI), developed by Department of Computer Science at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) and the Department of Museum Informatics at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (GNM) in Nuremberg is applied as software. The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (ISO 21127) serves as a semantic backbone. The project uses WissKI as a database and virtual research environment. The data model takes into account the objects of art and the photographs seen as separate entities. The image material is described in its objectivity, in view of its specific characteristic of technical reproduction. In data modeling, the unique and selective relationships between photographs and illustrated entities have been formed with CRM semantic definitions and terms. 

Interpretation of copyrights and right of use by generated image, derivative, digital content and metadata is also a significant objective of the project. It is important in the view of the transfer of the data to Europeana and the German Digital Library (Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek) at the end of 2017.

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