Project “Cultural capital”, Sovereign fund
In Russian federation, the number of museum objects left without proper evaluation and classification reaches 500 billion, despite that they belong to the national fund of special valuable property. Similar problem occurs regarding to hundreds of thousands of cultural heritage objects (historical and cultural memorials) of federal importance, and even more so, for memorials of regional and local importance. There is no registration and evaluation of ecological and natural heritage at all. However, all mentioned objects still represent cultural values of the country, and their numbers across the world might exceed billions of units. Those are basic values for peoples of Earth.
On the same grounds, in any other country in the world an undefined number of cultural values stays overlooked, without sufficient supervision and evaluation, which eventually leads to theft and faking of these objects during their unregulated rotation. At the junction of XX-XXI centuries, black market of cultural values grew to a horrifying size. Just in Russia, hundreds of thousands pieces of art are currently missing and stay in the wanted list, including icons, antique artifacts, archeology. Returning them to their actual owners is not possible because most of the stolen items did not have any distinct features that would allow accurate identification of the object. In most cases, a short description and a small black and white photo are the only materials that assist the identification. That leads us to the conclusion that national and intellectual resource worthy of quadrillions of US dollars overall does not leave illegal circulation.
The reasons that made this situation happen partially caused by the complex nature of cultural values and their limitless diversity. Today only two possible conditions allow object accounting: either its position in the collection of a specific museum or a positive decision of a specialist acknowledged as an expert. Neither expert status nor features of the cultural value are definitive and accurate. As it usually happens, that leads to the overall ambiguity of the judgment. Due to such vague conditions, just an expertise is not enough to establish an authorship or creation time of an art object, sometimes impossible even to establish properly how original it is. Without attribution, the identification seems to be an uncertain procedure, and credibility of its results is extremely low.
In the words of a philosopher and scientist Pavel Florensky (1914), cultural value defined as a multiplication product of its authenticity probability and its value established in ethical merits of an expert. Indeed, cultural values, as a manifestation of humanity collective experience in coexistence, initially appear visible to the observer only by the means of an object associated with the cultural value. As a following, researcher can start perceiving the knowledge related to the object holding the cultural value. Definition, derived by ISO.MUSEUM specialists, states that cultural value is a specific object that exists independently from an observer, has an owner but despite that bears essential importance to larger strata of people (Shestakov V.A., 2008). Using that definition, it becomes possible to categorize the multitude of cultural values, create methods for their registration, description and identification, all while maintaining relatively low cost, high accuracy and reliability.
To solve the problem of setting up accounting and cultural value condition control we need to reach two main goals. First is the creation of a method of control independent from operator, which would allow determining attributes of cultural value that are essential for its existence and apprehension. Second goal is a creation of a system that would allow arranging cultural values by their distinctive and significant parameters and could be applicable for any cultural value.
Method for accomplishing the first goal invented by ISO.MUSEUM that supplies creation of photographic copies of objects with an accuracy of its parameters reaching 0.1mm. Its name is “Method of attribution, technical and technological research, identification of cultural values, museum objects and cultural heritage objects (historical and cultural memorials)”.
Solution of the second goal assisted by classification of cultural values, developed by ISO.MUSEUM specialists. This classification allows forming distinct parameters of an object and store it in a database structure, such as Universal register of cultural and natural heritage objects, which designed to categorize all phenomena of human activity and its importance for any social organism.
With application of the aforementioned tools, it will be possible to create an exhaustive model of a cultural value (so called insurance copy), which will consist out of all essential attributes of a given cultural value. It will make the process of faking or substituting the object more difficult, however it supports restoration or authentic copying, either on owner’s demand or by necessity.
The optimal way to overcome problems of evaluation and control would be creating a Sovereign fund “Cultural capital” that will begin attracting resources of national and foreign investors, starting from 500 billion $. The most appropriate form for such institution would be National vault of Russia, at the exception that the number of kept objects would not be finite, be located on territory of any country and have different owners. Sovereign Fund will take on a responsibility to organize and maintain the following activities and projects:
- Creation of insurance copies for objects in all Russian museums that are included in the museum fund of Russian Federation, on an agreement to fulfill the task in the following three years
- Creation of autonomous protected vaults for storing insurance copies (period of execution – two to three years)
- Ensuring the management of insurance copies of Museum Fund of Russian Federation on servers, an approximate number – 500 million units (period of execution – three years)
- Organization of a website for assisting the scientific research of cultural values on a basis of Fund’s licensed products that include functions of registration, recording, researching and rotation control of insurance copies
- Creation of a specialized social network for interaction, socialization and qualification improvement between museum employees and creative people, which supports a variety of languages (English, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and Spanish). Another function of the network is to attract representatives from all over the world to participate in the project
Organization of the initial investment calling in up to 200 million $, further increasing total investment amount up to 10 billion $.
Calculations so far show that there is a high probability of reaching the set goals in a decade. Goal includes the beginning of registering cultural values, their evaluation and further inclusion in national capital of the country these objects belong to, and setting up community control over the rotation of cultural values in countries across the world.