First certificate of inventory by UNCOPIED guaranteeing the uniqueness and the origin of a physical work of heritage and cultural value.
First certificate of a physical object
This October 2021, Uncopied was used for the first time to authenticate a secure Certificate of Inventory (CoI) for a physical work of inestimable cultural and heritage value. The object 1990/2572-Dog-Est-B.Toro is a votive statuette from the Dogon Country estimated to have been created in the first half of the 19th century or earlier. It is the property of the art collector Richard A. Pierron, DESSAC in museology, ethnologist in the field, expert in classical art of the sub-Saharan zone and settled in Bamako since 1984. The documentation of the object was done by Miss Nelly Jackson, within the framework of her internship in Art History (museology and heritage), based on the elements transmitted by Mr. Richard A. Pierron. The choice of metadata (the descriptive data of the object) was suggested by the referent curators contacted by Miss Nelly Jackson. The metadata model is the one proposed by linked.art, a community that gathers international museums (Le Louvre, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Paul Getty Trust …) and universities (Yale University, Europeana …). Linked.art’s objective is to create a data standard that allows to describe any kind of object of our cultural heritage such as paintings, sculptures, etc. For example, documenting their physical characteristics (size, weight, material, technique etc.) and also their provenance, key events that are part of the life cycle of the work (restoration, loan for exhibition etc.). This data format is consistent with the values of Uncopied, as it is simple, interoperable and extensible.
The Uncopied certificate is a public document that can be consulted by ‘flashing’ the QR Code. In some cases, it is useful to add an NFC chip to be able to scan the object without the label being visible. The label is linked to the object by a simple cotton string, to avoid any material damage.
The label is secured by the chirographic principle. Two original certificates of inventory (classic A4 documents) are authenticated by labels whose edges stick exactly to the label present on the object. One of these will be kept by M. Pierron, the other may accompany the object for an exhibition or a loan to a museum. Two other copies are kept by Uncopied in different places for long-term archiving. The label and each part of the chirograph are marked with two QR codes: one allows access to the Uncopied certificate and the other allows access to a cryptographic proof on the Algorand ecological blockchain. The digital certificate comes in the form of a PDF document and a metadata file. What is the purpose of the blockchain? On the one hand, it allows to assign a unique identifier to the object’s chirographic label. On the other hand, it allows to associate to this identifier an irrefutable proof that the associated data (digital certificate and metadata) have not been modified.
When we contacted Mr. Pierron, Uncopied was practically only at the idea / prototype stage. The whole team is grateful to him for his availability and trust for this “pilot” project and for having been willing to put the Uncopied concept into practice for a beautiful object of his collection.
NOur objective for summer 2021 was to explore with the National Museum of Mali, in collaboration with the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac Museum, a new principle of patronage. Each patron could acquire a copy of the work (physical, or digital in the form of an NFT), in return for financial sponsorship to ensure the conservation of the work for a period of 10 to 20 years. We hoped to bring new financial resources to the museum, as well as to create a link between the museum and its public through the work sponsorship program. The pilot project that we had initially envisaged consisted of testing the certification of copies as copies with the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac. And on the other hand to certify the original works as heritage objects with the National Museum of Mali. Problems related to COVID-19 and to the particular situation of Mali delayed the realization of this project. However, thanks to the precious help of Mr. Pierron, we were able to validate the main elements of the solution.
The fruit of a team effort in summer 2021
This summer, Uncopied’s Parisian team worked together at 100ecs, near Gare de Lyon. A cultural establishment in solidarity, and a meeting place for artists from different backgrounds. On this occasion, we tested the idea of chirography and the certificate of authenticity with Sophie Taïs, Scenographer:
I studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Nice and graduated in scenography. The theater is my first passion, I created sets, costumes, puppets. On the occasion of an order for a scenography for a book festival and an open air place, I made an encounter, very important for me: the cardboard. I imagined “book-eating giants”, I made a few models with the materials I had on hand, paper and corrugated cardboard, and I used these same materials for the final sculptures which were 2 meters high. It was then that I developed a passion for the extraordinary material of cardboard! I developed my own cardboard technique, and since then I have been creating sculptures out of cardboard and paper mache. I have also sometimes transposed my technique to the stage. The sculpture “Et après” originated during the first confinement in spring 2020 from the idea of mixing another material with cardboard, I had just found a large ball of string and the memory of Macramé knots! Its title and attitude questioned at the time what would happen after this curious period.
Our thanks go to Sophie for her open-mindedness, her kindness and to the 100ecs team for their welcome during the summer.
Fruitful exchanges during the SITEM
In September, the Parisian team of Uncopied -composed of Violette VERSAEVEL, Nelly JACKSON and Elian CARSENAT- took part in SITEM 2021, the International Museum Exhibition. It was the opportunity to have fruitful exchanges with the actors of the cultural industry.