WAACNewsletter
January 2002 Volume 24 Number 1

Articles You May Have Missed

"Watchdog Group Wins on Da Vinci Restoration," Tuesday, January 8, 2002, Los Angeles Times

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, has abandoned plans to restore Leonardo da Vinci's "The Adoration of the Magi,"an unfinished work by the artist, in the wake of protests from ArtWatch. ArtWatch is an international watchdog group dedicated to protecting works from what it regards as overzealous restorers.

According to BBC News Online, the international anti-restoration campaign is supported by dozens of scholars of Renaissance art from the United States, Britain and Italy. Uffizi director Annamaria Petrioli Tofani had argued restoration was needed because of damage to the wood on which the painting was based and the weakening adhesion of the paint. But ArtWatch sent an open letter to the Uffizi asking that such action be put on hold until the art world had been consulted.

ArtWatch U.K.'s director, Mike Daley, called the prospective restoration particularly troubling because the painting was unfinished, he said. The Uffizi decision was especially gratifying, he added, after the Louvre's decision not to restore the "Mona Lisa."

"If the restorers had got to that, nothing would be sacred, nothing would be left alone," he said. "It had seemed we'd reached a point where the whole heritage of the world's art was fair game for restorers."

"Art Imitates Life, Perhaps Too Closely," by Warren Hoge, New York Times, Oct. 20, 2001.

LONDON. An installation that the popular and pricey British artist Damien Hirst assembled in the window of a Mayfair gallery on Tuesday was dismantled and discarded the same night by a cleaning man who said he thought it was garbage.

The work a collection of half-full coffee cups, ashtrays with cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, a paint-smeared palette, an easel, a ladder, paintbrushes, candy wrappers and newspaper pages strewn about the floor was the centerpiece of an exhibition of limited-edition art that the Eyestorm Gallery showed off at a V.I.P. preopening party on Tuesday night.

"Talking-Tag system," by Marguirite Stuart, Nov 13, 2001, Conservation DistList.

The necessity to handle objects for identification often results in damage. The object has to be lifted, taken out from its packaging, turned, twisted, etc. in order to retrieve the accession number. Damage can vary from abrasion caused by friction to breakage caused by falling. The importance to tackle this problem linked with the traditional method of registration is widely acknowledged and has resulted in the develop- ment and use of more advanced technologies e.g. barcode.

However, with all systems used at present, it is still necessary to have visual access to the number or label. In case of barcode, the label has to be manoeuvred in such a way that a beam of light can reach the label. Also any damage to the label will make the information irretrievable.

Solution: HELICON conservation support <URL:http://www.helicon-cs.com> therefore developed a revolutionary identification system, the Talking-Tag system. With this system there is no need to see the number on the object as it uses radio frequency.

The system consists of hardware (tag, antennae) and was developed together with major international software and hardware companies.

Apart from the fact that this system minimises moments of risk, there are other advantages. The system can be used to simplify inspection and to establish integration in disaster planning. As it uses radio frequency, it also allows for a combination with audience information systems. Another great advantage is a reduction in the time it takes to identify objects, valuable time which could be spend more efficiently.

Talking-Tag system: The Tag is an interactive label made of polyethylene, copper and silica. It has 44 digital positions available to store data. This data can be read from the Tag, altered and written on the Tag using radio wave technology (antennae).

Each position on the Tag can be linked using specific software to information stored in existing museum databases, such as object number, photo, description and location. The Tag also holds the key to information relating to the packing and shipping of objects, their physical condition, storage conditions, priority of evacuation in case of calamity, etc..

The Talking-Tag system can be used to identify museum objects in storage, exhibition, during transport, etc., without the need to handle the objects, thus avoiding the risk of damage. With current registration systems there is the problem of locating objects within their packaging (a box may contain several objects). To check if the correct object is inside, the object has to be taken out in order to read the registration number.

Further each object has to be made accessible individually. The process is time consuming and creates the risk of damaging it. Traditional registration of a move takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Using this system, the registration of a move can now be initiated and processed in less then 30 seconds.

The Talking-Tag System also makes it possible to identify several objects in one effort. So apart from saving objects, this system also saves time (and therefore money).

When using the Talking-Tag system, the antenna can read and write information on the tag and link it to the existing database. There is no need to open a box with objects. In a way it is made impossible to move an object from one location to another, without it being tracked. Stacked reading makes it possible to keep track of movements of larger quantities of objects.

In order to develop, test and fine-tune the system, it was tested in situ in several Dutch museums, including the Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Krvller Muller Museum in Otterlo, Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The durability of the tag was tested by means of accelerated aging.

With the Talking-Tag system HELICON provides a manual. In this manual guidelines are given for the position on the objects where a Talking-Tag. can be attached. Also several methods for the attaching itself are given. The Talking-Tag system comes with software that is capable of communication with every database orientated registration package worldwide. The information on the Talking-Tag is standardised, the translation comes from the interface software.

Both these factors, manual with guidelines and translating software will result in a form of standardisation of information. Therefore making exchange of information about objects much easier.

The first museum to implement this system for registration is the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In September 2001 they started to 'tag' their collection of 15,000 prints and drawings.

"Women's Secret Weapon Against Stress," iVillage News, newsletter@mail.ivillage.com, Nov. 9,2001.

Women respond to stress diffferently than men do. Fortunately, we also have a better way to fight it: each other....

Friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. But they may do even more. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.

A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning finding that has turned 5 decades' of stress research-most of it on men-upside down.

"Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, PhD, now an assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University in State College and one of the study's authors.

It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers. Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight."

In fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress response in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.

This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone-which men produce in high levels when they're under stress-seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA.

"There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded," says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own.

"I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something." The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties.

Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

The work developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live longer."

In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%.

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having a close friend or confidante was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!

As to the friends you need, while your childhood buddy will always be the sister of your heart, geography, jobs, and life in general make that singular reliance on one another impossible. Part of growing up is expanding your heart and your circle of friends along with it.

In that spirit, we think there are five chicks that every woman needs in her court:

The "I've Seen You with Your Braces and Bell-Bottoms" Friend. This is the one that knows where you live — not just literally, but that figurative place where it all began. You bonded over jumping rope. She knows your family, knows how you crashed your first car into a pole the day after your sixteenth birthday, and didn't laugh when you wore a 32 AAA bra.

The Biological Buddy. This is the friend who mirrors your family status. If you have children, so does she, and ideally her kids are close enough in age to yours that you can bemoan the dilemmas of potty training or car seats together. You listen patiently to her stories about Junior, nod in the right places, and then it's your turn.

Your Own Personal Martha Stewart. She knows everything, from how to get candle wax off your cat's ear to what color shoes to wear with a celadon silk suit. Roof leaking? She's there with some shingles and tar that she happened to have in the workshop. She has every tool, every recipe, and every magazine article cross-referenced and indexed. She's irreplaceable.

Sister-in-a-Suit. She knows how much your salary is and was instrumental in getting it there by counseling you before your last big performance review. Powerhouse, confidante, and The Wall Street Journal in comfortable pumps, she's a source of professional inspiration. (And awfully fun o have drinks with after work, to boot.)

Wild Woman. You've always been curious about male strip clubs but never had the nerve to ask any of your usual friends to go to one. Bingo — wild woman is your ticket. Nothing will shock her, and the word "judgment" is not in her vocabulary.

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