May 8, 2015 | By Simon

Although we’ve seen situations where sharing 3D scans of public artwork has been met with legal threats and slaps on the wrist, we’ve also seen the exact opposite: people who want to get otherwise reserved physical objects into the hands of as many people as possible - especially those who want to send a message out into the world.

Among others, a pair of artists who famously erected a statue of Edward Snowden in the Fort Greene Park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn last month - for their project “Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0" - want people around the world to have a replica of their now famous bust to print and do what they wish with - both in their own homes and in public spaces.  

The 4-foot tall Snowden bust had been installed during the night by the artists and a few helpers on April 6. It sat for just a few hours before park officials took it down. The statue was then taken to the NYPD's property facility in Queens.

The Brooklyn-based artists, Andrew Tider and Jeff Greenspan, were outed by the NYC police after retrieving the giant head recently.  

"The artists are pleased The Prison Ship Martyr's Monument 2.0, AKA The Snowden Statue is back in public view and hope it continues to inspire discussions about surveillance, patriotism, and what sacrifices must be made to maintain the freedoms that are the cornerstones of a free society," they said in a statement. "The goal of this project has always been to help the public have an important national debate about mass surveillance."

The head - which four feet tall and bronze-plated - certainly wouldn’t fit on the beds of most 3D printers, however in an effort to continue to share their vision they have released an 8-inch scaled 3D scan of the bust on MakerBot’s Thingiverse platform.   

“We thought, ‘Let’s put the data out there, and find a way for it to proliferate to anyone who wants it,'” said Tider in a recent interview with Wired.

“We’ve heard from people that they want one for their lawn or to put in their home … so we’re letting the world do whatever it wants to do with this.”

Although the artists gained a lot of international attention after their ‘guerilla art’ installation, they were only fined a mere $50 each for the act for entering the park after hours to install the bust and an information plaque to an existing age-old Brooklyn column structure.

While the artists aren’t necessarily suggesting that others should use the scalable file to erect their own large-scale busts, Greenspan has admitted that it would be exciting if others were to copycat their shrine in other locations around the globe - perhaps with the goal of sharing it on various social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.   

“It would be great if people put these in public spaces and Instagrammed them, or put photos on Twitter and Facebook to project them around the world,” he said.

“Anywhere it can get people thinking about surveillance, your rights and liberties, it would be wonderful.”

The artists are also quick to mention that due to the high resolution of the Snowden bust, it isn’t entirely optimized for fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing and is currently optimized for printing on higher-resolution 3D printers including selective laser sintering (SLS) - however those with FDM 3D printers can expect an FDM-optimized file to be available on the file’s Thingiverse page soon.  

Regardless of where various 3D prints of the file might end up, Greenspan and Tider know that others will understand the original message of their project: to counter mainstream media’s portrayals of Snowden as a “traitor”.  

“We accept sometimes without thinking that if there’s a bronze statue of some person, they must be good,” added Greenspan. “We wanted to raise this question, whether the people you’ve been told are heroes are heroes or whether your enemies are really enemies.”


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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