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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 18, 2015

Challenging Heritage Visualisation: Beauty, Aura and Democratisation

Stuart Jeffrey
From the journal Open Archaeology


In this paper I will pose a challenge to digital heritage visualisation that takes as its starting point the weirdness of the digital world in comparison to everyday experience. Related to this is the apparent inability for digital objects to benefit from or acquire aura from their originals. I contend that, unless mitigated, these properties will cause a continuing lack of engagement with digital heritage visualisation beyond the professional and academic circles in which they are created. Contrary to expectations, I will argue digital objects can indeed manifest an auratic quality and that this is in fact fundamental to how they are received by various audiences. I contend that both aura and the intimate relationship between digital representation, aesthetics and the creative imagination need to be understood and embraced in practice. Finally, I will suggest some ways of addressing the challenge by looking at modes of co-production, physical replication and aesthetic quality.


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Received: 2014-12-4
Accepted: 2015-4-17
Published Online: 2015-5-18

© 2015 Stuart Jeffrey

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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