About Invisu

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The joint research unit InVisu is the result of a partnership between the CNRS and the INHA. Its aim is to contribute to methodological approaches in art history through experimentation with new information and communication technologies. The profusion of digital images, the complexity of the right of access to visual and textual information, and the speed of technological advances require specific monitoring, experimentation, and support as regards the processing of the documentary data specific to art history. This activity is likely, in turn, to open up new possibilities for research and the dissemination of knowledge. It is carried out by a cross-disciplinary methodological unit divided into two departments :

The «Service» department, whose mission is the monitoring, testing, and support of new information and communication technologies.

The «Research» department, which focuses on the implementation of research findings feeding into the proposed methodological approach. Three issues in particular have been identified :

  •  the establishment of digital corpora of visual and textual data
  •  the consultation of dispersed, diverse data
  •  the indexing of image content and modes of visual analysis

The activity of InVisu is based on existing or current research in the field of the history of the architecture and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean region in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this specific field of study, orientalisms in architecture, the European historiography of Islamic arts, architecture in the colonial context, and the internationalization of cultural heritage practices around the Mediterranean basin are all transnational objects. They pose specific problems from a methodological point of view because of the international dispersal of the documentation available and the heterogeneity - linguistic in particular - of the existing data.

These fields of research make available documentary systems that are new, but that will become more widespread due to the growing interest of art historians in transnational terrains. These are, then, the more general methodological results expected from the exploratory research undertaken.