Transfigurations: Reanimating the Past is an immersive exhibition project that provides new ways of experiencing ancient art.
Through a series of animation installations, displays of glowing and ever-changing forms, viewers explore representations of our bodies, of the visible world around us, and of the invisible worlds of belief and cosmology.
Transfigurations exhibitions are presented at museums, galleries, theaters and alternative spaces. Most recently, an exhibition featuring animations of ancient art of India, with related performances and talks, was shown at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. Individual animations have been featured at REDCAT Theater at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Paul Young Gallery in West Hollywood, the Riverside Art Museum, and the University of Texas at Austin. Transfigurations is offered to all venues free of exhibition fees.
These 4K animations, from intimate scale to wall-high environments, are created from high-resolution photographs and are not AI-generated, but rather retain the integrity of each original ancient object.
The photographs are animated using techniques ranging from slow, meditative morphing to rapid, almost hallucinatory cascades of coherent images. The evolving images allow audiences of the digital age a portal into art of the ancient past and provide insights even for those deeply familiar with the objects. The sound is designed to evolve harmoniously as visitors create their own paths through the animation-filled spaces.
Interactive touchscreens encourage visitors to discover patterns, echoes and links between cultures and to explore: Who made these objects and why? Where do they come from? How were they found? Where are these objects now and how did they get there?
Transfigurations gathers together thousands of objects, impossible to assemble in any other way, sometimes reuniting objects that have been scattered across continents by looting, imperial projects and the art market. We have taken more than 40,000 photographs at over 300 locations so far, working in collaboration with museums and departments of antiquities in Canada, Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, the U.S. and more.
The Board of Advisors includes scholars, curators and museum directors:
Naman Ahuja – Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Adolph H. Borbein – Professor Emeritus, Freie Universitaet Berlin
Kerry Brougher – Founding Director, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Linda Duke – Former Director, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art
Viola König – Former Director, Ethnology Museum of Berlin
Roberto Ontañón-Peredo – Director, Prehistory and Archaeology Museum of Santander
Nasser Rabbat – Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture, MIT
Colin Renfrew – Senior Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Univ. of Cambridge
Alexa Sekyra – Head of Scholars Program, Getty Research Institute
Margarete van Ess – Scientific Director, Orient Department, German Archaeological Institute
Michael D. Coe (1929 – 2019), Professor, Yale University, was a founding board member. His work continues to inform and inspire this project.