Feb 16, 2017 | By Julia

The first ever artwork made in space, a 3D printed laugh sculpture

A 3D printed “laugh sculpture” has officially become the first major artwork to be made in space. Printed aboard the International Space Station’s (ISS) famed zero-gravity 3D printer, the unique art project was born from the mind of Israeli artist Eyal Gever.

Last December, 3Ders reported the launch of a new collaboration between Gever and NASA contractor Made In Space. “#Laugh” was a globally crowdsourced art project with a simple yet clever premise: users around the world were encouraged to record their laughter using the #Laugh app, which would then visualize the sound byte as a 3D model or “laugh star.”

The project quickly went viral, as chucklers everywhere began sharing their personalized results. Over 100,000 people created their own laugh stars in December, according to Made In Space representatives. The laugh with the most online engagement via the #Laugh app, it was promised, would be 3D printed aboard the ISS and launched into orbit, making history as the first ever artwork created in space.

Now, Gever and Made In Space have fulfilled their promise: winner Naughtia Jane Stanko of Las Vegas was voted the lucky laugher to have her model 3D printed in space. Stanko’s laugh star was sent up to the ISS and printed out last Friday.

Made In Space's Additive Manufacturing Facility 3D printing the laugh sculpture

The piece is rife with cultural significance, Gever said in an official press release. "We live in epic times, where continuous disruption and rapid change exists against a backdrop of extremely volatile cultural shifts constantly challenging our human conscience," Gever explained.

"A laugh star floating in space, above all our heads, is my attempt to create a contemporary metaphor for the hanging 'Sword of Damocles,' a reminder that the beauty of human life is so fragile."

While the ISS’ Additive Manufacturing Facility is normally reserved for printing out spare tools, parts, and other lab equipment, Made In Space felt that 3D printing this piece of art was equally important. “It’s important for the world to see that technology and art are not independent of one another,” said Made In Space President and CEO Andrew Rush.

An astronaut releasing the laugh star into orbit

For Gever, the laugh sculpture represents what humanity can achieve with positivity. The earliest cave paintings were a way of proclaiming and celebrating the presence of humanity, the artist said. “#Laugh is the 21st version century of that – a mathematically-accurate encapsulation of human laughter, simply floating through space, waiting to be discovered.”

Gever and Made In Space Chief Technology Officer Jason Dunn will exhibit the winning laugh star on March 13 at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX. Check out the details of their presentation here.

 

 

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