The Historical Archive of Italgas becomes Heritage Lab thanks to the partnership with the Giorgio Cini Foundation
The Italgas laboratory of knowledge, experimentation and above all innovation applied to historical and cultural heritage is born. Two centuries of history look to the future thanks to digitization.
Turin, July 9, 2020 - Italgas and the Giorgio Cini Foundation announce a partnership aimed at transforming Italgas' Historical Archives and cultural heritage into a "Heritage Lab", a laboratory equipped with the most advanced technologies for the 2D and 3D digitization of the historical, industrial, artistic and cultural heritage that the Company has collected and preserved during its almost two centuries of history. An experience that dates back to the first half of the nineteenth century, is intertwined on several occasions with the history of the country and whose deepening will allow an increasingly wide audience to observe from unprecedented angles many of the events that have marked the social, economic and technological evolution of the nation.
The agreement was approved today by the CEO of Italgas, Paolo Gallo, and the President of the Giorgio Cini Foundation, Giovanni Bazoli.
The Giorgio Cini Foundation is a cultural institution that stands out for being, at the same time, a centre of studies, a place of meeting and debate but also a space in which multidisciplinary research projects are developed, aimed at providing new tools for analysis and understanding of the reality around us.
In this sense "Heritage Lab" wants to be a model, unique in Italy, of a digitization archive-laboratory whose aim is not only the recovery and systematization of the historical archive of a large company but also its conversion into a big date of the past and, in this form, its sharing with the community interested in deepening its contents.
The Italgas Archives will thus be able to expand the opportunities for collaboration on a national and international level by developing new archival and historiographical activities and skills, as well as access to important circuits such as the ARCHiVe project ("Analysis and Archiving of Cultural Heritage in Venice") created in 2018 by the Giorgio Cini Foundation, in collaboration with Factum Foundation and Digital Humanities Laboratory of the École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne, thanks to the support of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, or even the large Time Machine consortium, which includes over 14.000 institutions representing more than 100,000 professionals committed to investigating the past with the aim of mapping Europe's social, cultural and geographical evolution.
A radical paradigm shift aimed at making the most, thanks to technology, of Italgas' entire cultural heritage: from the historical library to the newspaper and periodicals library, from museum collections to documentation on the archaeological heritage found during the laying of the gas infrastructure.
Today the Italgas Historical Archive consists of an original nucleus of more than 1,000 linear metres of documents, 6,000 volumes, pamphlets and magazines, 35,000 prints, photographs and posters, 350 period equipment and instruments declared of considerable historical interest by the Italian State and subject to notification and preservation. An ever-growing heritage whose study makes it possible to reconstruct not only the history of the Company and the people who worked there, but above all the links with the country's main events and the world of energy, the role played in Italy's industrialisation process, urban development and public services.
"The digital world and the materials stored in museums and historical archives - commented Italgas CEO Paolo Gallo - may seem to be at odds with each other: on the one hand, modernity and dematerialization, on the other hand, material evidence of a past that reaches the present day. The challenge of digital transformation is to identify a path that allows these two worlds to meet and enhance a history that is not only of Italgas but of the entire country. Thanks to the partnership with Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Heritage Lab becomes another important part of our deep digital transformation and with it Italgas confirms itself as a company where innovation is not only applied but also created".
"We are proud of this prestigious collaboration " - said the president of the Cini Foundation Giovanni Bazoli. "Two years ago, when we launched ARCHiVe, we set ourselves the goal of transforming it into a national and international reference centre for the conservation and enhancement of Cultural Heritage. The announcement of the Heritage Lab project by Italgas confirms the validity of our decision to promote the creation of ARCHiVe, in the belief that the development of theories and practices for digital enhancement can be a new mission of the Cini Foundation, as a leading institution in the conservation, promotion and dissemination of the values of Italian civilization in the world".