Andriana Nikolaidou | Interview

Andriana Nikolaidou

Research Assistant in Digital Media/Libraries for Art and Cultural Heritage

Can you tell us few words about your academic background?

I hold a bachelor degree in Fine Arts (BA- first-class honors) , and at the moment I continue my studies pursuing a master’s degree in Interaction Design.

What about your research at the Cyprus Institute and STARC?

Upon returning to Cyprus, I investigated opportunities to experiment my interest in cultural heritage, resulting in an internship in Advanced Imaging in Digital Heritage and Art at STARC. To my delight, I was trained to use innovative computational photographic methods to document and analyze precious artifacts such as ceramics, coins, and wall paintings. One of my first tasks was photographing and cataloging the Medieval Coin Collection at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation. For this project, we used Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). Helping in the documentation of Tiziano Vecelli and El Greco's painting was one very unforgettable experience.

 End of 2015, I started working as a research assistant in Research assistant to Dioptra: The Edmeé Leventis Digital Library, the digital library of the Cyprus Institute dedicated to the study, promotion, and dissemination of Cypriot cultural heritage. Through my work, I was responsible for the effective management and archiving of the libraries digital assets. Along with the archiving I was responsible for coordinating the formulation of descriptive, structural and technical archival metadata by analyzing the attributes of the digital libraries and collections. Now, I am working as a Research Assistant in Digital Media / Libraries for Art and Cultural Heritage, by creating the digital content of platforms and conceptualizing the digital library structure focusing on usability and user engagement.

Through my work, I developed a deep admiration and respect for the artistic character of each object – the experience altered my artistic practice in surprising and encouraging ways.

Do you think the advanced technological and scientific framework of CyI and STARC has enriched your research?

The environment of STARC is uniquely collaborative, a fact that has inspired my curiosity in many ways. Working with digital libraries for archaeological artifacts and architecture, made me realize how important is to make the data available to all the users, and to invest in Human-Centred Design to increase audience engagement for an intercultural audience. All the activities helped me to discover how interesting approach interaction design can have in an anthropological and cultural perspective and direct my master in the direction of Interactive Design.

How you can combine your fine art background in a research institute?

I firmly believe that the Institute is one of the most creative environments in Cyprus providing endless possibilities for experiment with art.  By using a piece of technology in a new way, you can do something that was never possible before, and create a new form of art. My aim as an artist is to combine new and porous ways of digital technologies and specifically advanced imaging into digital art scenarios. The facilities of CYI along with the documentation of Medieval coins that I have mentioned above gave me the chance to explore themes and stories related to the coins; resulting in The Stories Behind, a multimedia piece that was selected to represent Cyprus in the Young Artists Biennale held in Milan in 2015.  Although I do not directly work with this technology, I acquired permission to photograph Cypriot silkworm cocoons using the KH-8700 HIROX Digital Microscope, which brought out details of the surface texture that inspired a new work connected to the historic silk road. This work, Topography, was shortlisted to represent Cyprus in the Beijing Art Biennale of 2017. At the moment I am working on a new artwork based on Graffiti, with my college Mia Trentin which is pretty interesting. Today there are so many types of new technologies that present an opportunity to create new ways of interacting with art, providing that so many new forms of art that incorporate technology.