Oct 13, 2015 | By Alec

Spain is known for a lot of great things, from fantastic food and culture to gorgeous weather, but perhaps its time to start associating it with 3D printing as well. A considerable number of Spanish artists, designers and startups are embracing the technology; just last week, we reported on a remarkable museum exhibition revolving around 3D printed light and sound by Hugo Martínez-Tormo, but we have just learned about the impressive work of one of his colleagues as well. Solimán López recently unveiled his REPSAT // Rosetta Version installation in a museum in Valencia, Spain, a very cool and impressive interactive exhibition full of 3D printed litophanies and light effects that respond to visitors.

To explain, Solimán López (Burgos, Spain, 1981) is the type of artist that can be found on the crossroads of 21rst century technology and social issues, and is particularly concerned with how the digital is affecting the tangible. In his own words, he reflects on the idea of the non-digital identity, the erosion caused by information overload on the social and the destruction of privacy. The installations developed through this spectrum have featured throughout the world, but has just touched down in Valencia, in the Punto Gallery as part of the ANT exhibition.

In essence, this new REPSAT installation is a modern take on the classic art form of the lithophane – very thin, often etched pieces of art that reveal depictions when placed in front of a light source. While done for centuries using old fashioned technologies, López has now reimagined them with the help of 3D printed parts, LED lights, a Raspberry Pi, cameras, sensors and software. ‘REPSAT uses the latest 3D printing technology and it´s conversion from digital files to printed format. Through this conversion we obtain three dimensional models in low relief called litophanies. This litophanies when are retroiluminated works as a bitmap in black and white,’ he explains.

The result is remarkable, as you can see for yourself in the clip below. The 15 lithophanes glow with the help of custom programming and uses sensors to detect visitors, interacting with them and creating different lighting patterns – a visual magic show made especially for you. The visible images are based on pictures taken of the 67P/Churiumov-Guerasimenko comet by the ESA in the Rosetta mission between 2014 and 2015. ‘When these images are retroiluminated the eye can appreciate the movement of the comet in a visual and cinematographic experience,’ they explain.

The REPSAT installation also comes with an interactive interface with access to 15 pendrives with an eye on downloading. The artist has the unique masterkey pendrive which resets the system and prepares to send new images into the exhibition. The incorporated sensors are also capable of taking pictures of visitors and giving feedback and visual information. ‘But it is not all. The piece goes with 15 pendrives that can be sold. Each of this 15 buyers can plug the pen drive to obtain a unique digital image in high resolution as part of the piece,’ López explains. ‘The piece talks about how the new technologies are avoiding us to to discover spaces and concept ever imagined and how this information can be modified and distort for different social and cultural interest. The art as a communication interface is one of the keys to understand the piece.’

The remarkable result features a large amount of 3D printed parts, which have been manufactured in collaboration with Valencia-based 3D printing service Printable. While traditional lithophanes are often done in marble, these are 3D printed in PLA. In total, the entire exhibition is six meters wide, with each 3D printed panel having a diameter of 18 cm. The entire thing is, as you might expect, powered by a Raspberry Pi. ‘The idea is part of a current investigation which fix the new space discovers with art and how this information is easy to be manipulated or distort as the digital art itself. I have been working for several years in the idea of digital information as universe information, intangible, inagotable and as a liquid,’ López explans to us. The result can be checked out below, though you can obviously also visit the installation yourself in the Punto Gallery in Valencia.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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