PROVENANCE LAB WORKSHOP: “Uncertainty and Subjectivity in Provenance Linked Open Data”, 06/29/2022 – 06/30/2022.

On June 29th and 30th, 2022, the Provenance Lab hosted a workshop on the role of subjectivity and uncertainty in provenance Linked Open Data. Researchers and practitioners engaged in modeling art history information through Linked Open Data were invited to participate in the event. Participants showcased real-world examples of the role of subjectivity and uncertainty in provenance records and discussed different approaches and solutions to addressing them.

How we structure the subjectivity and uncertainty of a statement in LOD is still very much an open question and challenge. This is the same for structuring provenance LOD. After all, the reconstruction of an artifact’s history is only ever achieved through the interpretation of historical sources and the formulation of hypotheses by scholars. Such hypotheses are subjective, however, and may contain degrees of uncertainty depending on the scholar’s confidence in them. It is thus crucial to translate subjectivity and uncertainty when structuring provenance in LOD, since false objectivity only prevents debate and multi-perspectivity. 

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION: “Probably Sold to Paalen, Possibly by Exchange”, 06/09/2022.

On June 9th and 10th, 2022, the University of Lausanne (UNIL) hosted the second edition of the Workshop on Computational Methods in the Humanities (COMHUM 2022). Fabio participated in the event with a presentation entitled “Probably Sold to Paalen, Possibly by Exchange: Vagueness, Incompleteness, Subjectivity, and Uncertainty in Digital Art Provenance”. Taking the example of the provenance of Picasso’s  ‘Head of a Woman’ (1927) now preserved at the MET, the talk focused on the challenges of, as well as modeling solutions for, VISU information (Vagueness, Incompleteness, Subjectivity, and Uncertainty). 

VISU information—from the Latin ‘de visu’ meaning “with your own eyes”—represents the effort and difficulty in reconstructing the provenance of a work of art. In digitizing and publishing art provenance as linked open data, Fabio argues, it is important that we include and model the complexity of VISU information. In so doing, we can avoid making historical records clear, complete, objective and certain, when they are simply not.

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