Jan 15, 2016 | By Alec
3D printing has a reputation of being very futuristic, in part because designers tend to go all out with sci-fi inspired designs. However, as Japanese artist Taketo Kobayashi likes to remind us, it is also a fantastic tool for reaching back towards the dawn of human art. While Taketo has been using 3D printing for combining the very old with the very new throughout his oeuvre, and his latest “Visions of the Universe” project actually revolves around 3D printed replicas of pottery from the Jomon period in Japanese history (approximately 12,000 BC to 300 BC).
If Taketo Kobayashi sounds familiar, that’s probably because we have reported on his amazing 3D printing projects before. Readers might recall the intriguing works of the Tokyo-based modern artist and his quest to harmonize Japan's rich history and culture with modern technology and sub-cultures through 3D printing. His projects have covered and combined everything from the culture and art of the Shogun era to modern day anime (and everything in between). Over the past year or so, this has already resulted in a modern interpretation of the age-old Japanese tea ceremony involving 3D printed utensils, several highly artistic 3D printed prosthetics in the More Than Human project (in collaboration with visual artist Yoshinori Sakamaki as XSENSE). He has also created a gorgeous series of 3D printed Buddha statues that reflect several elements of traditional Japanese beliefs.
Throughout his work, however, Taketo has been trying to find links to modern day sub-cultures, including the well-known anime and manga sub-cultures. This has been no different for “Visions of the Universe”, as Taketo explains to 3ders.org. “I mixed the shape of Jomon itself and contemporary Japanese subcultural design, to express it in one shape. Connecting the ancient and contemporary creates a postmodern identity and art,” he says. “I take Japanese subcultural design and break it down into elements, then reconstruct it in abstract way.”
And the canvas he was working with is truly remarkable. The artifacts in question come from the Jomon period of Japanese history, which starts around 14,500-12,000 BC and ends around 300 BC. That period is famous for the large volume of art it produced, and fortunately large numbers remain. Especially Jomon Doki (period pottery) and Jomon Dogu (clay figures) can be found in Japanese museums, and represent the oldest and most original art form of the country’s long history. With the help of the Yamanashi Archeological Museum, Taketo has been able to work with some of these Doki pots, specifically SuienmonDoki (water marks) that has been excavated in the Yamanashi prefecture (the cultural center of Japan at the time) and is at least 5000 years old.
As Taketo explains, the unique patterns found on this pot could have several meanings, and there isn’t an academic consensus on what they represent. “I believe the people of Jomon tried to express their view of the world, how they experienced the nature, life and the universe, on the clay,” he says, something he feels is linked to contemporary cultural expressions as well. “I have my own theory that Japanese subcultural design and concepts are descended from Jomon. It is based on the animistic belief and feeling of the Jomon period, fused and mixed with influences from the Asian mainland, like Buddhism, to create a unique culture.” This is something even visible in the robotic designs you can see in anime, he argues, that are not expressions of industrial machinery, but vessels of a higher power and of man.
Of course he wanted his creation to reflect that cultural convergence, but he was obviously not in a position to modify the Doki in any way. “But with digital technology we can do something traditional art couldn't do. I believe this is the one of the value of post digital Art,” he says. With the help of Japanese 3D printer service provider Apistect, he therefore turned the Doki into a slightly more modern, repaired version that you can interact with yourself, bringing that ancient cultural expression back into the hands of the modern man.
But of course this wasn’t easy to 3D print, as it had to capture that unique feel of the original. “Visions of the Universe” therefore consists of 11 parts, that have been 3D printed over the course of 270 hours. Polymax PLA was used during printing for its good mechanical properties and quality results. PolyMax PLA is especially known for its high impact resistance (up to nine times higher than regular PLA) and has excellent overall mechanical properties too (of a better quality than ABS). A Babel FDM 3D printer was used, which features a 300×200×200mm build space and two printing heads.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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