May.9, 2013

Artifact, a solo exhibition by Sophie Kahn, opens today, May 9, at the Student Union Galleries (SUGs) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

The exhibition contains four life-sized 3D printed sculptures. At first glance, they appear to be a collection of fragmented ancient relics. But upon closer inspection, they are revealed to be portraits of the living artist, made not in marble but in 3D printed plastic. The word artifact refers to both the archaeological associations of the sculptures, and the digital glitches they contain.

The artist deliberately misuses a precisely engineered laser scanner to generate glitch or 3D 'motion blur.' She scans her own body, subtly moving while holding the scanner, to produce conflicting spatial coordinates. She then breaks the data down further while digitally 'sculpting' the fragmented scans. Finally, she has the 3D files fabricated on a large 3D printer. These works were made by Shapeways, a New York-based 3d printing company.

Kahn has been using 3D scanning and 3D printing in her work since 2003, and in these sculptures she has pushed the technology to its limits.

Here are some of her recent works:

Torso of a woman (degraded fragment), 3d print from 3d laser scan, Life-size, 2013 | credit: Sophie Kahn

Memorial Bust of a woman (self portrait), 3d print from 3d laser scan, Life-size, 2013 | credit: Sophie Kahn

Torso of a woman (shards), 3d print from 3d laser scan, Life-size, 2013 | credit: Sophie Kahn

Kahn's work explores the ways that technology can misunderstand the body and fail to capture life. Her work is inspired by her background as a photographer and by a love of cemetery and memorial sculpture. For Kahn, each sculpture is an incomplete, deconstructed memorial. She is interested in the eeriness of digital duplication, and the idea of the uncanny valley: as digital technologies get closer to capturing a perfect human likeness, the resulting objects become eerier and more disturbing, more reminiscent of death than of life. Populated with a series of Kahn's digital doppelgangers, Artifact presents an imagined future archive where once-living bodies are scanned and immortalized in a permanent state of digital suspension.

The exhibition opens from May 9 to June 7. Watch below a 5-minute video of Kahn's talk about her projects at the Leaders in Software and Art conference at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.




Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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