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  • May 20, 2019 9:15 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from The Local

    French lawmakers on Friday debated a controversial draft law for restoring Notre-Dame within five years, after the iconic Paris cathedral sustained major fire damage last month.

    Renovating the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, whose wooden roof was largely destroyed in the April 15 blaze, will be an unprecedented challenge for the government, which has drafted a special bill for managing the huge project.  

    Days after the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron set a target for the restoration to be finished within five years, meaning it should be ready by the time Paris hosts the Olympics in 2024. 

    But the draft legislation, which aims to speed up the construction process, has sparked controversy because it would involve removing some of the rules protecting the ancient structure.

    As the debate opened, Culture Minister Franck Riester told MPs that although five years was "an ambitious timeframe" for renovating Notre-Dame, which took 200 years to build, the project would "not be done in haste".

    "Yes, we want to move quickly. Some have accused us of wanting to move too quickly but the outpouring of generosity was very fast so we can and must respond, which is what we are doing," he said.

    So far, nearly €1 billion has been donated or pledged for Notre-Dame, with Riester pledging that the funds will go "entirely and exclusively" to its restoration. 

    Experts believe the total bill will come to between €600-700 million, with some raising questions over what will be done with any leftover money, suggesting it could be channelled to other crumbling churches and cathedrals. 

    France's Observatory for Religious Heritage (OPR) says there are between 40,000 and 60,000 churches and chapels in France, 5,000 of which are in a state of dilapidation.

    The draft law also outlines the creation of a public body to oversee and carry out the work within a rapid time frame, but more controversially grants the government power to override regulations on planning, environmental and heritage protection and public tenders.

    But Riester said the provision would not be used to cut corners.

    "There are very precise rules which apply to the restoration of heritage buildings and property which are formalised in the code on cultural heritage and which correspond to France's excellence in this field," he said. 

    "It goes without saying that these rules will be applied, I will guarantee it."

    The law does not mention the architectural aspects of the project, with some MPs keen to push through legislation stating that the work will ensure the cathedral is rebuilt exactly as it was without any creative additions. 

    Images of the ancient cathedral going up in flames sparked shock and dismay across the globe as well as in France, where it is considered one of the nation's most beloved landmarks. 

    Notre-Dame has figured as a central character through the ups and downs of French history since construction began in the mid-12th century.

    It was vandalised and plundered during the French Revolution in the 18th century, but went on to feature as a central character in a Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" which is credited with helping save it. 

    It survived the devastation of two global conflicts in the 20th century and famously rang its bells on August 24th, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Paris from German occupation at the end of the World War II.

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  • May 20, 2019 9:06 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the NY Times

    I. M. Pei, who began his long career designing buildings for a New York real estate developer and ended it as one of the most revered architects in the world, died early Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 102.

    His death was confirmed by his son Li Chung Pei, who is also an architect and known as Sandi. He said his father had recently celebrated his birthday with a family dinner.

    Best known for designing the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre in Paris, Mr. Pei was one of the few architects who were equally attractive to real estate developers, corporate chieftains and art museum boards (the third group, of course, often made up of members of the first two). And all of his work — from his commercial skyscrapers to his art museums — represented a careful balance of the cutting edge and the conservative.

    Mr. Pei remained a committed modernist, and while none of his buildings could ever be called old-fashioned or traditional, his particular brand of modernism — clean, reserved, sharp-edged and unapologetic in its use of simple geometries and its aspirations to monumentality — sometimes seemed to be a throwback, at least when compared with the latest architectural trends.

    This hardly bothered him. What he valued most in architecture, he said, was that it “stand the test of time.”

    He maintained that he wanted not just to solve problems but also to produce “an architecture of ideas.” He worried, he added, “that ideas and professional practice do not intersect enough.”

    Mr. Pei (pronounced pay), who was born in China and moved to the United States in the 1930s, was hired by William Zeckendorf in 1948, shortly after he received his graduate degree in architecture from Harvard, to oversee the design of buildings produced by Zeckendorf’s firm, Webb & Knapp.

    At a time when most of his Harvard classmates considered themselves fortunate to get to design a single-family house or two, Mr. Pei quickly found himself engaged in the design of high-rise buildings, and he used that experience as a springboard to establish his own firm, I. M. Pei & Associates, which he set up in 1955 with Henry Cobb and Eason Leonard, the team he had assembled at Webb & Knapp.

    In its early years, I. M. Pei & Associates mainly executed projects for Zeckendorf, including Kips Bay Plaza in New York, finished in 1963; Society Hill Towers in Philadelphia (1964); and Silver Towers in New York (1967). All were notable for their gridded concrete facades.

    The firm became fully independent from Webb & Knapp in 1960, by which time Mr. Pei, a cultivated man whose understated manner and easy charm masked an intense, competitive ambition, was winning commissions for major projects that had nothing to do with Zeckendorf. Among these were the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., completed in 1967, and the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse and the Des Moines Art Center, both finished in 1968.

    They were the first in a series of museums he designed that would come to include the East Building (1978) and the Louvre pyramid (1989) as well as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, for which he designed what amounted to a huge glass tent in 1995. It was perhaps his most surprising commission.

    Mr. Pei, not a rock ’n’ roll fan, initially turned down that job. After he changed his mind, he prepared for the challenge of expressing the spirit of the music by traveling to rock concerts with Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone.

    The Cleveland project would not be Mr. Pei’s last unlikely museum commission: His museum oeuvre would culminate in the call to design the Museum of Islamic Art, in Doha, Qatar, in 2008, a challenge Mr. Pei accepted with relish. A longtime collector of Western Abstract Expressionist art, he admitted to knowing little about Islamic art.

    As with the rock museum, Mr. Pei saw the Qatar commission as an opportunity to learn about a culture he did not claim to understand. He began his research by reading a biography of the Prophet Muhammad, and then commenced a tour of great Islamic architecture around the world.

    Bold Yet Pragmatic

    While the waffle-like concrete facades of the Zeckendorf buildings were an early signature of his, Mr. Pei soon moved beyond concrete to a more sculptural but equally modernist approach. Throughout his long career he combined a willingness to use bold, assertive forms with a pragmatism born in his years with Zeckendorf, and he alternated between designing commercial projects and making a name for himself in other architectural realms.

    Besides his many art museums, he designed concert halls, academic structures, hospitals, office towers and civic buildings like the Dallas City Hall, completed in 1977; the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, finished in 1979; and the Guggenheim Pavilion of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, finished in 1992.

    (I. M. Pei & Associates eventually became I. M. Pei & Partners and later Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.)

    When Mr. Pei was invited to design the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, he had the opportunity to demonstrate his belief that modernism was capable of producing buildings with the gravitas, the sense of permanence and the popular appeal of the greatest traditional structures. When the building opened in 1978, Ada Louise Huxtable, the senior architecture critic of The New York Times, hailed it as the most important building of the era, and she called Mr. Pei, at least by implication, the pre-eminent architect of the time.

    Most other critics also praised Mr. Pei’s angular structure of glass and marble, constructed out of the same Tennessee marble as John Russell Pope’s original National Gallery Building of 1941, reshaped into a building of crisp, angular forms set around a triangular courtyard. Mr. Pei, many critics said, had found a way to get beyond both the casual, temporal air and the coldness of much modern architecture, and to create a building that was both boldly monumental and warmly inviting, even exhilarating.

    In 1979, the year after the National Gallery was completed, Mr. Pei received the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, its highest honor.

    At the same time that he was receiving plaudits in Washington, however, Mr. Pei was recovering from one of the most devastating setbacks any architect of his generation had faced anywhere: the nearly total failure of one of his most conspicuous projects, the 700-foot-tall John Hancock Tower at Copley Square in Boston.

    A thin, elegant slab of bluish glass designed by his partner Henry Cobb, it was nearing completion in 1973 when sheets of glass began popping out of its facade. They were quickly replaced with plywood, but before the source of the problem could be detected, nearly a third of the glass had fallen out, creating both a professional embarrassment and an enormous legal liability for Mr. Pei and his firm.

    The fault, experts believed, was not in the Pei design but in the glass itself: The Hancock Tower was one of the first high-rise buildings to use a new type of reflective, double-paned glass.

    The building ultimately won numerous awards, including the American Institute of Architects’ 25-Year Award. But it took eight years of legal wrangling, millions of dollars and the replacement of all 10,344 panes of glass in the facade before the Hancock’s troubles could be put to rest and the building could be appreciated as one of the most beautiful skyscrapers of the late 20th century.

    The problems delayed its opening by three years, its temporary plywood windows a constant reminder to all Boston of its troubles, which cost I. M. Pei & Partners so many clients that Mr. Pei almost had to close the firm.

    “The glass company had a lot of money, and Hancock had a lot of money, but we didn’t have a lot of money,” he told The Times in 2007.

    The long struggle to resolve the problems at the Hancock, and the fallout from the crisis, made the 1970s, despite the triumph of the National Gallery in Washington, a bittersweet decade for Mr. Pei.

    Although he was correct that his firm lacked the funds of the huge corporations he was struggling with, he was not without substantial resources, at least for an architect.

    Son of a Banker

    Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton (now Guangzhou) on April 26, 1917, the son of Tsuyee Pei, one of China’s leading bankers. When he was an infant, his father moved the family to Hong Kong to assume the head position at the Hong Kong branch of the Bank of China, and when Ieoh Ming was 9, his father was put in charge of the larger branch in Shanghai. He remembered being fascinated by the construction of a 25-story hotel.

    “I couldn’t resist looking into the hole,” he recalled in 2007. “That’s when I knew I wanted to build.”

    He was brought up in a well-to-do household that was steeped in both Chinese tradition — he spent summers in a country village, where his father’s family had lived for more than 500 years, learning the rites of ancestor worship — and Western sophistication.

    Deciding to attend college in the United States, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. But when he concluded that he was not up to the classical drawing techniques then being taught at Penn, he transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received a bachelor of architecture degree in 1940.

    At the recommendation of his father, who was concerned about the threat of war and the growing possibility of a Communist revolution in China, he postponed his plan to return home. Instead he enrolled at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, where he studied under the German modernist architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School.

    Discovering that there were relatively few men at Harvard during the war years — “It was me, a Chinese national, and the ladies,” he once recalled — he decided to join the war effort and volunteered to work for the National Defense Research Committee in Princeton, N.J., where he became an expert on fusing bombs.

    “They figured if you knew how to build buildings, you knew how to destroy them,” Mr. Pei said.

    While he was at M.I.T., Mr. Pei met another Chinese national, Eileen Loo, who had come to the United States in 1938 to study art at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Like Mr. Pei, she was from a distinguished Chinese family. The two married as soon as she graduated, in 1942. Eileen Pei began graduate work in landscape architecture at Harvard while her husband worked toward his advanced architecture degree, which he received in 1946.

    He taught briefly at Harvard and planned to return to China in time. But then he was approached by Zeckendorf, who was looking for a talented young architect to head a new in-house design team.

    Mr. Pei, refined and genteel, could not have been more different on the surface from the brash Zeckendorf. But the men shared a bold ambition, a love of French wine and a belief that architecture could improve cities. Mr. Pei decided to make the move to New York. He, his wife and their two young sons left Cambridge, Mass., and settled in an apartment on Beekman Place in Manhattan.

    The Zeckendorf years were a heady beginning for Mr. Pei’s career. Before long he had hired one of his former students at Harvard, Henry Cobb, who would remain associated with him for more than 60 years. The architect Ulrich Franzen also began his career working under Mr. Pei at Webb & Knapp, where the architecture department had charge of large-scale projects in New York, Washington, Montreal, Denver, Boston and other cities.

    No matter how committed William Zeckendorf was to Mr. Pei’s designs, however, he was still a commercial real estate developer, and Mr. Pei did not want to spend his entire career working for someone else. With Zeckendorf’s blessing he began to seek some outside commissions, including the Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan and the Green Earth Sciences building at M.I.T., and he gradually began to separate himself from his patron.

    When Zeckendorf’s empire ran into serious financial problems in 1960, that became a good excuse to turn I. M. Pei & Associates into a fully independent firm.

    The Choice of the Kennedys

    Mr. Pei quickly began to gather both large and small architectural assignments, among them the National Airlines terminal at what is now John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, and the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library in Columbus, Ind., a city famous for its architecture.

    But the commission that truly thrust Mr. Pei into the forefront of American architects was for a building that would take 15 years to build and would bring him a sense of triumph and frustration in equal parts: the John F. Kennedy Library.

    He was chosen in 1964 by Jacqueline Kennedy (later Onassis), who liked the fact that he was young — he and John F. Kennedy were born just a month apart — and only beginning to come into his own. His selection over Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, Gordon Bunshaft and Paul Rudolph made it clear that he was no longer viewed as a developer’s architect but as a major talent on his own.

    But political objections to the library’s original site in Cambridge delayed the project for years, and by the time it was built, both the new site, at Columbia Point in Boston Harbor, and the scaled-down design represented major compromises.

    During the years the Kennedy Library was being planned, the Pei firm grew rapidly. There were still more museums, like the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, and large urban complexes like the Christian Science Center in Boston, as well as the project that would bring Mr. Pei his greatest notoriety in Boston, the John Hancock Tower, and the museum that would bring him his greatest acclaim, the East Building of the National Gallery.

    As his firm grew in size and prestige — it would eventually employ 300 people — Mr. Pei seemed to become the quintessential New Yorker. He and his wife and family, which grew to include three sons and a daughter, moved to a townhouse on Sutton Place, facing the East River, where he remained for the rest of his life. He became an avid collector of postwar American art, and his townhouse contained works by Morris Louis, Dubuffet and de Kooning; he also designed a weekend house for his family in Katonah, N.Y., in Westchester County, where he installed a 16-foot-high sculpture by Anthony Caro.

    Mr. Pei never played down his connections to China. His children were all given Chinese names, and when he won the Pritzker Prize in 1983, widely viewed as the highest honor a living architect can receive, he used the $100,000 award to establish a scholarship fund for Chinese architecture students.

    His eldest son, T’ing Chung, an urban planner, died in 2003. His wife of 72 years, Eileen, died in 2014. In addition to his son Li Chung, who is known as Sandi, he is survived by another son, Chien Chung, also an architect, who is known as Didi; his daughter, Liane; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    Mr. Pei’s younger sons joined with him to form their own firm, the Pei Partnership, in 1992, at which point I. M. Pei began stepping aside from the firm he had founded and devoted most of the last years of his career to working with his sons.

    He did not go back to China until 1974, when he returned as part of a cultural exchange tour organized by the American Institute of Architects. There, he did not hesitate to criticize the banal, Soviet-influenced architecture that he saw, and he gave a talk in which he urged the Chinese to look back at their own traditions rather than “slavishly following Eastern European patterns.”

    The criticism did not deter the Chinese government from inviting Mr. Pei, by then the most famous Chinese-born architect in the world, back again, this time to design a group of high-rise hotels in the center of Beijing. He declined, saying that he feared such buildings would deface the city.

    The government, not willing to let him get away so easily, then offered him a rural site outside the city and asked him to design a resort hotel there. This time he said yes, and produced the design for Fragrant Hill, a sprawling building in which he tried to combine the geometric modernism of his other buildings with elements from traditional Chinese architecture.

    It was the first of a few attempts Mr. Pei made to acknowledge the growing interest of many architects in reusing historical form; in a similar vein, he would later design a high-rise hotel in Midtown Manhattan, the Regent (now the Four Seasons), which tried to evoke the romantic, stepped-back forms of prewar New York skyscrapers.

    The opening of Fragrant Hill was a major international event. Jacqueline Onassis, whose friendship with Mr. Pei remained strong throughout the years of delay over the Kennedy Library, attended, as did Carter Brown, the director of the National Gallery. But Mr. Pei later admitted that he considered the building, which was poorly constructed and not well maintained, a disappointment.

    In 1982, Mr. Pei would have a very different kind of opportunity in China when the governors of the Bank of China in Hong Kong, the bank his father had once run, traveled to New York to meet with Tsuyee Pei, who had long since left China and was living in Manhattan. Their mission was to ask the senior Pei, in a demonstration of traditional Chinese etiquette, if he would agree to allow them to invite his son to design a new skyscraper headquarters for the bank in Hong Kong. (Tsuyee Pei was bitterly opposed to the Communist Chinese government, but he did not stand in the way of his son’s taking the job.)

    It would turn out to be one of Mr. Pei’s most notable towers, a narrow 70-story composition of triangular and diamond shapes, built of glass and steel.

    A Pyramid as a Portal

    Mr. Pei would make his biggest international mark, however, in France, with a smaller but far more contentious project. In the early 1980s President François Mitterrand, an admirer of the East Building at the National Gallery, invited Mr. Pei to update and expand the Louvre Museum, which was sorely in need of renovation to accommodate a huge increase in visitors.

    Mr. Pei proposed building a glass pyramid in the center of the ancient Cour Napoleon to serve as a new main entrance to the museum. He quickly found himself in the center of an international controversy, accused of defacing one of the world’s great landmarks.

    He argued that his glass pyramid was merely an updated version of a traditional form, and that his redesigned courtyard had been influenced by the geometric work of the French landscape architect Le Notre. It was rigorously rational, in other words, and in that sense classically French.

    What carried the day, however, was not Mr. Pei’s argument, true as it may have been, but President Mitterrand’s determination. The pyramid opened in the spring of 1989, and the elegance of the finished building, not to mention its geometric precision, won over most, if not all, of its opponents.

    Within a few years the pyramid had become an accepted, and generally admired, symbol of a re-energized Paris. And like the Kennedy Library, the John Hancock Tower and another controversial Pei project from the 1980s, the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, it stood as a measure not just of I. M. Pei’s design talent but also of his patience and perseverance.

    In retirement, Mr. Pei remained eager for news of both architecture and art and, until his last year, continued to make the occasional trip downtown to lunch with friends and consume his share of red Bordeaux.

    His 100th birthday, in 2017, was marked with an elaborate black-tie dinner, given by his children, at the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center, where he was toasted by many of the world’s leading architects, some of whom had begun their careers working for him, and a circle of friends that included prominent members of the Chinese community in the United States, who considered him among their most eminent figures.

    As he blew out the candles on an enormous cake in the angular shape of the monumental Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, his last major building project, Mr. Pei beamed.

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  • May 20, 2019 9:01 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from EdTech

    For university administrators, the number of physical threats to college campuses in 2018 demonstrated a dire need to keep safety and security a top priority. Technology can help close the gaps in physical campus security initiatives, streamlining current systems and helping to introduce new ones. 

    As Kim Milford, executive director of the Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center at Indiana University, described to EdTech in an interview, the physical and cyber risks universities face have become increasingly intertwined. 

    “Let’s say there’s a physical threat on campus, like a hurricane. Because of the physical, all sorts of cyber ramifications happen,” said Milford. “If there’s a really big cyber event, like a breach, there will be physical ramifications.”

    3 Digital Solutions for Higher Education Physical Security Risks

    Just as the risks breach the divide between physical and digital, so too do risk management solutions. Here are a few best practices for universities to help ensure their campuses are safe. 

    1. Seamless alert systems: Whether there is a fire in the chemistry building or an active assailant on campus, it is imperative that all students, faculty and staff are alerted immediately to any present danger. Universities can approach emergency communication systems a few different ways. At the University of Illinoisadministrators can push visual alerts through digital signage around campus. Meanwhile, universities such as Texas A&M University have strategically placed beacon technology around campus to send push notifications to all mobile phones, alerting users directly of any reported danger. 
    2. IP network cameras: For campus security officials, a keen eye on campus activity is crucial for maintaining safety. Unlike analog closed-circuit television cameras, these security cameras are controlled through a remote network and do not require a separate recording device. By controlling security cameras through a LAN, campus police monitor live feeds and review past video more quickly. At Virginia Commonwealth University, IT and security leaders partnered with Cisco to create web of security cameras connected to the campus network, EdScoop reports. At VCU, officers can see the feed from any camera from a centralized command center, giving them more flexibility to monitor the campus. 
    3. Communication applications for mobile devices: Alert systems are important lines of communication, but they are also one-sided. Students must have ways to report any suspicious activity or emergency to campus officials efficiently. At VCU, CIO Alex Henson implemented a way for students to contact campus police through a mobile app. When it comes to lines of open communication, says Henson, there can never be too many. When a hurricane hit campus, officials were able to connect with students and staff over seven communication channels, ensuring everyone on campus received a message and could contact security services as needed.

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  • May 20, 2019 8:49 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from CNN

    Imagine an empty gallery in a museum. It's just you, a 200-year-old masterpiece and the quiet. The brush strokes of a Rembrandt painting draw you in, and with your hands behind your back, you lean in to study the colors and textures.

    Looking sideways, you spot the security guard at the door, standing bored and inattentive. You could easily reach out your hand and steal a quick touch, rules be damned.

    Fiona Candlin, a professor of museology at Birkbeck College in London and author of "Art, Museums, and Touch," is all too familiar with these clandestine moments. She spent years investigating the motivations behind why visitors touch exhibits without permission, what they choose to touch, and how these unauthorized touches make them feel.

    As it turns out, this type of rule-breaking is a common part of the museum-going experience. While she was observing unauthorized touching at the British Museum for a report published in The Senses and Society journal, a security guard told Candlin, "You stop a hundred people touching and there are 200 more ... It's like trying to turn back the sea."

    Closer inspection

    Museums are often seen as sober places, where visitors are expected to silently walk from gallery to gallery and contemplate art from a distance. But Simon Hayhoe, a lecturer at the University of Bath who specializes in art education and disability, suggests we often want to close that distance and interact with works more intimately.

    He links this to the original purpose of Renaissance artworks, which were hung inside churches to teach people about Bible stories. The pieces were hung in a way that created a sense of remoteness and reverence, and made the viewer feel like an outsider.

    "What the church did was put the art out of reach. They never put it close to the people so they can stand in front of it. They were designed to be seen (up) high, and so people would look at them in awe and wonder," Hayhoe explained in a phone interview.

    "So there is a sense of power there as well. There is a sense of you are not allowed anywhere near this painting, because it's imbued with God, it's imbued with power, it's imbued with something you're never going to be close to."

    According to Candlin, there are numerous reasons why museum visitors are so tempted to touch art, one of which is classic empirical investigation -- simply put, the desire to learn more.

    "If you want to find out how finely a surface has been finished, or how two bits are joined together, or how deep an engraving is, the best way to find out is by touching it," Candlin said in a phone interview.

    "You want to know how something is made, you want to know what it's made of, you want to try and get a sense of how it's put together, and so you touch for those kinds of reasons."

    Part of that inspection is to confirm authenticity. "There can be a real blur between museums and experiences and theme parks and wax works. Often if you have really big objects on display -- if you think about going into the Egyptian galleries in the British Museum or the Met. Some people can't believe you would put real things on display without glass around them. They're not quite sure and they figure if they touch it, they can make an assessment," Candlin said.

    Touching also has to do with playing with the art pieces on display -- especially when it comes to statues of animals and humans. But because these figures aren't real, museum-goers feel free to push boundaries, patting lion heads or groping naked bottoms. They're making visual jokes and performing for both themselves and the people they are with.

    In Candlin's research, she found that the British Museum's Lely Venus, a Roman statue of the goddess leaving her bath, had her behind cupped so often that the piece was put behind barriers.

    An emotional connection

    Standing in front of artwork also often evokes an emotional response. It's not just about appreciating technique, Candlin explained, but thinking of the human element behind the work and wanting to connect with the person behind the genius.

    "If something is made by a named artist, the museum goer wants to feel they have some connection with that named artist. Barbara Hepworth put her hand here and I'm now putting my hand here," Candlin said.

    "There is a sculpture by Hepworth at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (in England) where you can see her finger marks in it, and if people notice it they will often put their hand against her finger marks to give that sense of her hand and their hand meeting."

    While she doesn't go so far as to suggest people break the rules the next time they're at a museum, Candlin does believe touching is an important -- and, unfortunately for security guards, inevitable -- part of experiencing art.

    "People aren't just touching the ends of their fingers -- they're stroking things, they're holding things, they're mimicking," she continued. "You've got to see touching as part of the continuum of ways in which people physically interact with objects."

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  • May 20, 2019 8:43 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the ArtNewspaper

    As researchers unveiled more than 200 ancient Egyptian pieces recovered from the rubble of Rio de Janeiro’s gutted National Museum during a press conference earlier this week, the museum’s director Alexander Kellner took the opportunity to address the museum’s most pressing threat: a lack of federal funding.

    Since the museum caught fire last September, researchers and students have uncovered thousands of pieces, including a prized skull from the Upper Paleolithic period that is the oldest human ever discovered in Brazil. However, the museum is now struggling to afford enough storage space to secure the artefacts it has salvaged so far.

    “We’re not going to be able to continue these cool activities you’re seeing here without help”, Kellner said after the unveiling of the ancient Egyptian artefacts. The director adds that the museum needs at least 10 storage units to secure this haul alone, but ideally it needs 40 or more.

    The museum has received several donations from international institutions and private donors since the tragic fire last September, and the Brazilian ministry of education, which administers the museum, has donated BRL2.5m reais ($600,000) to the rebuilding process. Kellner has requested that the ministry immediately gives at least BRL1m reais more so it can continue recovering objects from the collection.

    “My biggest concern is that the ministry of education understands the importance of its role in the future of the National Museum”, Kellner added during the conference.

    Last month, the Brazilian federal police revealed that the fire began from a faulty air conditioning unit in a ground-floor auditorium of the building and there were not sufficient security measures to contain the flames.

    The federally-funded museum, founded as the residence of King João VI of Portugal in 1811, had been severely underfunded for several years. The total cost of restoring the building is estimated to be around BRL100m reais ($25m), but there is no clear projection on when the museum could reopen.

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  • May 07, 2019 3:11 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Education Dive

    Dive Brief:

    • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where two students were killed and four were injured in a campus shooting last week, announced plans to seek an independent external review of its response to the incident, according to The News & Observer.
    • Chancellor Philip Dubois said in a statement that the campus lockdown procedure went into effect as intended immediately after law enforcement officials were notified, and he lauded first responders for their bravery.
    • A former student has been charged in the shooting. One of the students killed, 21-year-old Riley Howell, was heralded for tackling the shooter, preventing further injuries, according to local police.

    Dive Insight:

    More than 430 people were shot in 190 shootings on college campuses between the 2001-2002 and 2015-2016 school years, with the annual rate of such incidents rising from 12 to 30 during that time, according to a 2016 report from the Citizens Crime Commission (CCC) of New York City.

    The growing frequency of gun violence on campuses has pushed colleges to change how they engage with students, staff and faculty members on the topic of campus safety. Their approach — educating the campus community on the need to "Run, Hide or Fight," and how — reflects guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on preparedness for and responses to an active shooter situation.

    Colleges are also enhancing their security systems. Those improvements include emergency phones placed throughout campus and fitted with 360-degree security cameras, multiple-platform communication systems to enable authorities to alert the campus quickly and specialized training for campus security personnel.

    Support for mental health on campus is also a critical factor. Campus security experts say institutions should create an environment in which students feel comfortable seeking mental health care as well as securely and privately reporting concerns about their peers. Additionally, mental health counselors should be trained to identify potential risk factors.

    Brett Sokolow, head of a risk-management consulting firm and founder of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA), explained in a recent article that his group hopes colleges will avoid "knee-jerk responses" to these events focusing only on "services, contractors, devices, gadgets and gizmos assuring they can protect us." He noted that among his firm's clients, spending on security improvements outpaces by 25-to-1 their investment in campus mental health and behavioral intervention.

    Well-prepared behavioral intervention teams and adequately staffed mental health services are the most effective interventions, he wrote, along with a reporting system that can protect privacy, avoid profiling and accurately alert institutions to threats. NaBITA last year released detailed guidance on establishing such teams.

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  • May 07, 2019 3:08 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from NPR

    Historic artifacts, including a copy of the proclamation of France's approval of the Louisiana Purchase and a yearbook from Fidel Castro's high school, were rescued Tuesday night from a four-alarm fire that damaged the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in St. Louis.

    About 80 firefighters rushed in and out of the museum, housed in what was once the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, hauling out armloads of one-of-a-kind documents, manuscripts, statues and intricately carved wooden ship models, even as they battled 8-foot-high flames.

    "They knew they were in a museum," Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It's like, 'Don't leave empty-handed. Grab something and get it out of here.' "

    The blaze raged for about two hours, destroying much of the second floor of the 107-year-old Greek Revival building. The ceiling caved in while at least 20 firefighters were inside. "The entire ceiling came down around and on some of these guys," Jenkerson said.

    No one was injured. 

    See Original Post

  • May 07, 2019 3:05 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Independent

    Campaigners are launching guerrilla guided tours of “looted” objects in the British Museum in a protest against alleged colonialism.

    Protesters will offer unofficial tours pointing out treasures they claim are being hoarded from indigenous communities around the world.

    Campaigners have further claimed that the museum is accepting money from a company which is contributing to climate change.

    The Parthenon Marbles are among the ancient works being highlighted by the campaign group BP Or Not BP, which takes issue with the international oil giant.

    Palestinian, Iraqi, Greek and Indigenous Australian activists will offer their take on the alleged colonial “hoarding” of objects inside the British Museum in London.

    The museum has defended its approach to culturally-significant objects and its sponsorship from BP, and said there will no increased security to deal with the protest tours on May 4.

    BP Or Not BP said: “It’s time for the British Museum to stop hoarding colonially-seized treasures from communities crying out for their return.

    “The director and trustees of the British Museum can’t ignore these issues much longer.

    “They need to start acting in the public interest and make amends for their colonial past, not cling grimly on to looted artefacts and a climate-wrecking sponsor.”

    BP Or Not BP has previously claimed objects in the British Museum have been looted from Iraq and protested the ownership of an Indigenous Australian objects.

    The group has claimed that BP is a polluting company and public institutions should not take their money.

    The group will now protest for the return of marble statues from the Parthenon in Athens as part of the protest tour.

    Campaigner Petros Papadopoulos said: “The return of the Parthenon Marbles is of paramount importance and I believe it can be achieved.”

    The British Museum has countered claims of colonialism and said it is open to loaning objects kept in its collections.

    It has also defended the use of BP sponsorship to support the global work done by the museum.

    A spokesman for the British Museum said: “The long-term support provided by BP allows the museum to plan its programming in advance and to bring world cultures to a global audience.

    “The British Museum takes its commitment to be a world museum seriously, sharing the collection widely, both abroad and in the UK.

    “We are aware that some communities have expressed an interest in having objects on display closer to their originating community and we are always willing to see where we can collaborate to achieve this.”

    The museum added that previous protests about Indigenous Australian work had led to constructive conversation. There will be no increase in security and the museum allows for protests on site.

    BP have been contacted for comment.

    See Original Post

  • May 07, 2019 2:58 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Tripwire

    Human nature has shown that people re-use passwords, at least for non-work accounts that aren’t requiring quarterly changes. How can it affect your current security that you’ve reused an old password from 2012?

    Surprisingly, quite a lot.

    Hashed passwords and the plain text equivalent from a breached site can be paired with your then-username. Hackers have compiled lists of these pairs in a dictionary. Many sites use your email address as your username, and email addresses don’t change much. So, the hacker has got your email address and some old password.

    Hashing algorithms have gotten more secure over the years, and your current bank site likely is using a different hash algorithm for your password than 2016 MySpace or 2012 Dropbox. However, they have already got the dictionary of compiled usernames and previously used passwords – they don’t need to break the security to try the pair and see if it gets them in.

    Add a little script, and they can programmatically try all of them on websites they think you have access to in a matter of milliseconds. Or, alternatively, just attempt all the email-used password combinations they have in their dictionary on any site and see if they get lucky.

    How Do You Foil this Going Forward?

    One way is to never re-use a password. Some systems don’t allow you to reuse a password you’ve used before, but that only works on that individual site for old passwords from that site.

    If you’ve reused that AOL password you thought was so easy to remember in 2008 and then forgot about – well, it may still be in the hacker’s dictionary. And after a long online life, do you really remember which passwords you’ve used on all the sites and systems?

    NIST used to recommend complex passwords, defining this as a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. However, they have recently retracted this – a short ‘complex’ password is relatively easy for a computerized cracking program to discover.

    Longer passphrases, however, exponentially increase the time it would take to break into your account – the computing power isn’t available to do this in less than years or centuries for the better algorithms. Making your passphrase long doesn’t mean it can’t be easy to type – you can just string together a bunch of words (plus a number and symbol, if the site still requires it).

    Use a Hash Algorithm

    Another means to foil password hackers is to take advantage of the hash algorithm. The algorithm is one-way (you can’t deconstruct it), and another characteristic is that changing a single character completely changes the result in a pretty unpredictable manner. The hashed result for “CorrectHorseBatteryStaple” is completely different from “CorrectHorseBatteryStable.”

    This means for your personal sites where your passphrase doesn’t change often, you can use a long passphrase that isn’t likely in a hacker’s dictionary and preface it with the site name – i.e. “SocialMediaJenny8675309” vs “WellsFargoJenny8675309.” The hash processing will see those as extremely unique and unrelated, but your memory lets you “reuse” your WellsFargo passphrase for Facebook.

    Also, take care as to the prefix/suffix you use for your accounts. Humans are bad at randomizing, and computers are getting good at pattern recognition. If a future breach displays your passphase for one site in plain text, consider if you are giving the hacker enough information to ‘guess’ what your passphrase would be on another site.

    Strengthen Further with Use of a Vault

    Once you have your unique passphrase for each site, and whether they are either memorable as the above examples or computer-generated random letters, numbers and symbols, do consider using a password vault for storing all your passphases rather than just relying on memory.

    Depending on your needs for security vs convenience, you should be able to find the right vault for your situation – the password manager your work provides, or a private one that is local to your computer (but is backed up!) or a family plan that syncs between all your devices and that has multiple accounts for different users. All of these are available in encrypted form, and many are free or a low subscription cost.

    Face it, we all have too many sites to remember all the passphrases, and a vault allows you to remember one passphrase and then access all the sites from within it. You do have to consistently remember to update it when a passphrase is updated or a new login is created. Also, I recommended putting the master passphrase for the vault in a sealed envelope in a safety deposit box or physical safe.

    See Original Post

  • May 07, 2019 2:36 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Telegraph

    Rome mayor Virginia Raggi is writing to the British ambassador to Italy and other envoys in a bid to ban football hooligans and “uncivilized" tourists caught vandalising historic treasures from returning to the Eternal City.

    The mayor says Rome is a UNESCO heritage site and deserves greater protection. The council plans to draw up a “blacklist” of people caught damaging historic or archaeological sites and notify the vandals' embassies to try and prevent them from returning to Rome.

    “The mayor wants to target the uncivilized and football fans like those who damaged the fountain in front of the Spanish Steps a couple of years ago,” a spokesman for the mayor told The Daily Telegraph.

    “Those who commit crimes of this nature are not welcome in the capital. We are looking for ambassadors to stop them from coming back.”

    Drunken Dutch fans went on a rampage after a match in 2015 and caused serious damage to the 500-year-old Barcaccia fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowd and around 30 fans were arrested.

    The mayor’s letter is expected to be sent to ambassadors representing the UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands and other countries, her spokesman said.

    But Mayor Raggi is likely to need a national law to enforce any ban and has already had talks with Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, about her plan.

    The mayor’s initiative comes as security was stepped up at the Colosseum after tourists carved initials in the walls of the ancient amphitheatre in three separate incidents in the past week.

    In the latest, a 29-year-old Hungarian visitor was caught carving his initials in the wall of the 2000-year-old amphitheater and charged with damaging the city’s heritage. “I didn’t know it was forbidden,” the tourist reportedly said.

    Last week an Israeli woman was caught engraving the initials of her husband and children on the monument and last Sunday a 17-year-old Bulgarian schoolgirl was arrested for chiseling the letter “M” on a Colosseum wall.

    The Colosseum is fighting back with new measures. From the beginning of May the number of private guards has been doubled to 32.

    Staff have also begun making announcements in multiple languages at the entrance warning tourists they face legal action and fines if they damage the country’s most popular archaeological site.

     “We have had enough of the ignorant, the uncivilized but also sick people,” said Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum.

    “They are looking for notoriety inside the world’s most important monument. I think these people should be banned from cultural sites.”

    The Colosseum is not the only cultural treasure to have been targeted by vandals. Last year Italians were horrified when several male tourists, believed to be English, stripped naked and jumped into a fountain at the Victor Emmanuel Monument next to city hall and several tourists have been fined for jumping into the Trevi Fountain.

    In 2017 Rome introduced fines for anyone caught wading into any of the city’s fountains to escape the heat.

    See Original Post

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