Feb 11, 2016 | By Alec

Concept rendering of 3D printable laughter.

No tagline in movie history has been as influential as Alien’s ‘In space, nobody can hear you scream’ (1979). The same can be said for any kind of sound in space, but NASA has found a clever detour. For what will be the world’s first piece of art created in space, they will 3D print a physical representation of a person’s laugh on their zero-gravity 3D printer. If you can’t hear it, you’ll at least be able to see it. This #Laugh project is being realized through a collaboration with Israeli artist Eyal Gever, and is expected to be finished some time in 2016.

It’s a fascinating project that not only follows an intriguing artistic avenue, but will also serve as a fantastic test for the zero-gravity 3D printer made by US-based company Made in Space. At the IMTM tourist conference on Wednesday, Israeli artist Eyal Gever told reporters that the main purpose of #Laugh is to take in-space 3D printing to the next level. Gever was selected for this collaboration as an expert on 3D printed art. Back in 2012, he gained international recognition for his 3D printed sculptures which capture snapshots of disasters, such as tsunamis hitting houses, bus crashes and oil spills. His other works combined realistic digital representations with 3D printed effects, such as an installation featuring a video of a watery dancer, a square of realistic ocean surface and a 3D printed surrealistic waterfall.

As you might know, Made In Space has been working on zero-gravity 3D printing since 2010. The company’s CTO Jason Dunn said, at the time, that they were operating through ‘the idea that people should be living in space now.” 3D printing will obviously be a huge part of that future, as in-space production will be necessary to greatly decrease the costs of space travel and create a sustainable living environment. Though it sounds impossible, they actually announced that they will be launching their first commercially available zero gravity 3D printer back in the fall of 2015.

Dunn, in a video promoting the #Laugh project, revealed that this is a huge step both for their 3D printer as for art. “One of the areas that we are excited a lot about is art and how we can design new types of art that maybe we can’t even bring back to earth, because we’re building a sculpture that wouldn’t even survive in gravity,” he said.

And that artistic element is not neglected either, as Gever revealed that choosing to depict laughter was a very conscious decision, as something that is so human that it is absent in soundless space. “I realized, you know, maybe I shouldn’t even think about using a person or a certain language that has a political connotation or culture or time or race, and then a friend of mine said, ‘Why don’t you do a human laughter?’” Gever said. #Laugh is somewhat reminiscent of the Golden Records project of 1977, when cultural artifacts were sent into space, including sounds and scenes from earth, but then as modern as it can be.

So who’s laughter will receive the honor of being the first to be 3D printed in space? Well, it could be you. People from around the world will be invited to record and submit their own laugh. Through a voting system, you can even select your favorite candidate. The project, which will be featured in a VICE documentary, will launch some time in 2016.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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