Aug 19, 2017 | By Tess

London-based artist Anousha Payne has used 3D printing to create her latest art series “Imagined Artefacts.” The project, which consists of a number of 3D printed abstract structures, explores several themes including representation, replication, and the significance of an artefact outside of its context.

As an artist, Payne is known for delving into currently relevant questions in the art world, such as how self image and identity manifest in the digital age, and how modern technologies such as 3D printing fit in.

In her latest endeavour, the young artist has used 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to appropriate and replicate existing artefacts—to reimagine them using modern technology.

More specifically, Payne drew inspiration by walking around established museums and cultural centers, 3D scanning certain artefacts as she went. With the 3D scans (which were purposefully not carefully captured), Payne was able to create imagined artefacts that came to life on her 3D printer.

The pieces themselves are quite strange in structure, looking a bit like a vase mixed with a vortex. Still, they capture something from the original artefacts without coming close to straight replicas. In the artist’s mind, the 3D printed objects are artefacts from an imagined place and time.

“An imaginary artefact is something that I kind of made up to describe the objects I was making,” said the artist. “What I think of an imaginary artifact is quite literal. I’m imagining an artifact that may have existed in another world. I was thinking about whether an object still has virtual qualities when it’s replicated. Is it still the same thing when I made it huge and in another material.”

Of course, the question of authenticity, aura, quality, and replication has long been present in the art world. The question of aura for instance was raised by early 20th century cultural critic Walter Benjamin, who suggested that a work of art’s aura was depleted through mechanical reproduction (a photograph, for example).

In today’s day and age, when an artwork can be replicated using advanced 3D scanning and printing technologies, this question of aura and value seems even more relevant. What is the cultural value of the 3D printed copy of an ancient artefact? Does the value or importance of the original change?

In a video of her work, Payne has juxtaposed her 3D printed artefacts with images from cultural museums, showing us how the “imagined artefacts” look placed next to ruined stones and clay from ancient civilizations.

Though not the express intent of her work, the pieces also beg the question of whether perhaps 3D printed objects will someday be placed in museums in the same way that ancient artefacts currently are.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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