Safeguarding the Venetian material culture
The results of the project on the safeguarding of Venetian material culture, conducted by a research group of the Venice Project Center (VPC) of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), with the financial support of the UNESCO Venice Office, were presented at Palazzo Zorzi on 14 December 2011. The group was composed of undergraduate students of science and engineering from WPI, and placed under the supervision of Fabio Carrera and Frederick Bianchi. Other projects, relating to the Evolution of the Retail Sector - Castello, the Private Committees Archive Digitization, the Biennale - Interactive Exhibits and Noise - Smartphone application were presented on this occasion.
The purpose of the Venetian material culture project (abstract, web site), was to work to promote the preservation and restoration of Venetian material culture. Consisting of over 7,000 individual pieces compiled over the past 20 years, this collection constitutes the most complete and comprehensive catalogue of Venetian material culture to date. By centralizing the catalogue on the Venipedia site through the creation of over 3,000 wiki pages, the research group was able to make data readily available to the public. In addition, the group worked to expand the database by adding 127 decorative keystones and over 50 traditional Venetian watercrafts to the catalogue. As a means of further publicizing the catalogue, the group worked to create a mobile application capable of providing users with information pertaining to individual pieces of public art. Finally, the group worked to establish a priority and cost analysis system, to be used in unison with crowd sourcing, in order to raise awareness and funds for the restoration of these pieces.
The Venice Project Center of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been operating in Venice since 1988. In its 23-year history, the centre has engaged over 600 WPI students in about 150 undergraduate theses for the tangible benefit of the city of Venice. Its aims is to collect and disseminate factual information about the city of Venice and its lagoon, using the internet Venipedia platform, a free online resources on Venice.