3D Printing

Archeologists Remix Famous Historical Works with 3D Printing

3D scanning and 3D printing have the unique abilities to take what might otherwise be locked away in a museum or anchored to a specific locale and transport them across the world to a given person’s own home.  Transforming historical artifacts and pieces of art into digital, 3D printable data not only opens up our global heritage to anyone with access to a computer and a 3D printer, but it opens that heritage up to interpretation and reinterpretation.  With the advent of 3D printing and scanning, anyone can make famous works their own through artistic manipulation.  To showcase this new art form, archeologist Ashley Richter and computer scientist Vid Petrovic are planning to launch an art exhibition in San Diego, California, with a little help from the Kickstarter community.

open access antiquarianism 3D printed cultural site
A 3D printed Russian Doll Series of the Baptistery of St. Giovanni in Florence

Richter and Petrovic, as part of the Center for Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture, and Archaeology (CISA3) at the University of California in San Diego, have trotted the globe capturing digital scans of some of history’s most important landmarks, telling 3DPI, “We’ve hunted for a Lost Da Vinci with National Geographic, imaged King Solomon’s purported Mines, and acquired concussions in the basements of long-forgotten castles and more.” Desiring to open these works up to the public and demonstrate the ability to remix them with 3D printing, the duo begun building up a portfolio of art pieces for an exhibition titled Open Access Antiquarianism.

fabric made from point cloud for 3D printing exhibition
Fabric printed with a LiDAR image point cloud of an Ancient Roman copper mine in Jordan.

The work that will be shown in the exhibit, Richter tells us, “explore[s] the intersections of technology, archaeology, and open access digital heritage via 3D printed artwork.”  Open Access Antiquarianism is an altogether interactive “Cabinet of Curiosities”, that includes furniture upholstered with custom fabric dyed with digital scans, 3D printed statues of famous works, 3D printed “dollhouses” of archeological sites, 3D paper recreations of scanned sculptures, walls lined with stereo-vision panoramas of scanned locales, 3D printed artwork curated from the public, and more.

The fountain of Asgard next to paper model for 3D printing exhibition
The Fountain of Asgard alongside a 3D paper model of the statue.

In order to complete the exhibition, the researchers-turned-artists are asking for $16k on Kickstarter.  After finishing off their pieces, Richter and Petrovic will be able to display their collection at a space in Southern California, where patrons will be able to get a visceral experience of how the world’s of technology, history, and art converge.  For more information or to donate, head over to their crowd funding campaign.  And to learn more about the duo and their adventures hit up their blog or check out their Open Access Antiquarianism site.

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