• Summary

  • The Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney's monthly podcast series. Host Dr Craig Barker asks guests to choose any one item to discuss from the museum’s collections of art, archaeology, natural history, science and culture.
    University of Sydney
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Episodes
  • May 15 2022
    This episode of Object Matters marks National Archaeology week. Host Dr Craig Barker is joined by Madeline Robinson, Support Officer for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. In recent years Madeline has overseen a project of recording a number of Chau Chak Wing Museum objects in 3D to be used in digital teaching of undergraduate courses. 

    Photogrammetry is a technique that creates accurate and fully textured 3D models from photographs. It can be used to record both landscapes and objects of all sizes; allowing 3D prints and orthoimages (scaled images without distortion or perspective). Madeline discusses the role of photogrammetry in archaeology and museum contexts, and the role of digital archaeology more generally. Together in depth they discuss how she has recorded one of the museum’s numismatic items, a silver coin from Classical Athens and the complexities of recording a small object n 3D through marrying together hundreds of individual photographs and then how that digital recording may be used to allow greater access to the collection. In the discussion they prove that a digital recording of object matters as much as the object itself when it comes to engagement, teaching and research.

    Together they discuss new ways of seeing old objects, in celebration of National Archaeology Week.

    Guest: Madeline Robinson is Support Officer for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney. She has considerable archaeological field experience in Australia and abroad and manages the archaeology lab at the university. She also manages the @sydneyarchaeology social media account on Instagram and can be followed on her personal Twitter account @MGP_Robinson.

    Host: Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram.

    Object details: Athenian silver tetradrachm, Athens, Greece, 449-404 BC. 
    Obverse: Head of Athena facing right; reverse: owl standing facing right, olive sprig top left and moon to right. Acquired before 2004 [NM2004.655]

    The image is of its 3D recorded form accessible via Sketchfab.

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    33 mins
  • May 4 2022
    In this episode of Object Matters host Dr Craig Barker is joined by art historian and author Nicholas Croggon. They speak on the Power Institute, the Power Collection and the Light and Darkness exhibition.

    Nick discusses a work in the Power Collection by American artist Alan Sonfist. Sonfist is a US based artist most often associated with the birth of the Land or Earth Art movement. Crystalline enclosure was created in 1970, early in Sonfist’s career. The work features a glass globe with a mineral compound inside. As the air around it heats up, the compound sublimes into a gas eventually crystallising on the curved walls of the globe. When the crystal lattice increases its density, parts of the compound drop back down to pile again in the neck, whereupon the cycle begins again. We are invited by Sonfist to observe a process.

    Nick explains how the work in Sydney was part of Sonfist’s broader project of making visible our entanglement in the processes of the natural world. Nick also explores his interest in the language of visual culture and its relationship with human psychology through the work in the Chau Chak Wing Museum.
     
    Guest: Nick Croggon is Events and Programs Officer at The Power Institute. He is an art historian, editor and doctoral researcher. He is co-founder of Discipline journal and a Sydney edition of Memo Review.
     
     
    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram.
     
     
    Object details: Alan Sonfist, Crystaline enclosure, mixed media - iodine crystals, para-dichloro benzene crystals, gases, silicone, glass, 1970. Purchased with funds from the J W Power Bequest 1970. J W Power collection, The University of Sydney, managed by Museum of Contemporary Art. [PW1970.39]
      

    Read Nick’s catalogue entry on Crystalline enclosure.
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    34 mins
  • Apr 5 2022
    In this episode of Object Matters Lauren Poole, a writer and disabled postgraduate student of museum studies at the University of Sydney joins host Dr Craig Barker. Together they speak about the more than 100 rubber fragments of the "Cotton aerodynamic anti-G (CAAG) flying suit" in the collection.

    Designed during World War Two at the University of Sydney by the Professor of Physiology between 1942 and 1955, named Frank Cotton, , the suit was produced in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force to minimise the effects of high-speed flying on pilots and to prevent blackouts. Representing a remarkable career Cotton (1890-1955) has also been inducted in the Australian Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports science. 

    Although the Cotton Suit was designed for aviation use, Lauren sees it conceptually as a precursor to sequential compression devices (SCDs) used in treatment of blood pooling and to improve blood circulation in the legs.
    Lauren asks us to challenge ableism within a museum context. Why do we not see the Cotton suit as a disability object? And what other disability objects may we see in museum and gallery collections? Can we rethink the conversation in museums about disability representation within material culture?

    Guest: Lauren Poole is a writer and postgraduate student of the University of Sydney’s Museum and Heritage Studies programs. Lauren is a trained archaeologist and a disability advocate, who has published recently in ‘Growing Up Disabled in Australia’ And ‘Earth Cries: A Climate Change Anthology’. Follow Lauren @laurenlpoole on Twitter.

    Host: Dr Craig Barker, Head of Public Engagement, Chau Chak Wing Museum and Director, Paphos Theatre Archaeological Excavations. Follow @DrCraig_B on Twitter and Instagram.

    Object details: Parts from prototypes of the Cotton Aerodynamic Anti-G (CAAG) suit [SC1995.60.1-117]

    Read more on the Cotton suit in this paper by Dr Peter Hobbins, on the challenges of preserving the suit in this blog and for an image of Cotton and the suit being worn by pilots during the war from the Faculty of Medicine’s collection visit here. 

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    42 mins

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