I want to create a life-sized 3D-printed guillotine artwork out of bioplastic (PLA) for one of two museum/institutional exhibitions I have scheduled next spring. I'm in the process of discussing what the exhibition will look like with curators, so the installation details and location won't be finalized until December. Meanwhile I need to be able to start making and experimenting so I can show them physical examples of what the materials and processes will look like, and that's where you fine Kickstarter backers come in.
HOW IT HAPPENS
I'll start by purchasing a consumer 3D printer and lots of plastic filament in bright colors.
I'll begin creating a 3D computer model of a 1792 guillotine based on photos and plans sourced from the internet.
Meanwhile, I'll start scanning portraits of people's heads into the computer using a Kinect sensor and downloadable software, along with a 3D scanning iPhone app and photo constructions.
During these scanning sessions I'll have conversations with the portrait subjects about technology and its effects, and those conversations will help inform the artwork.
I'll use the scanning tools the same way a painter uses a brush, manipulating the process and "breaking" the scans in the same way that the Impressionists and others "broke" the traditional paradigm of art's only purpose being a "window into the world."
Once I have several versions of 3D scans in the computer, I'll begin manipulating and combining them to make something new (art!).
I'll do the same process with the guillotine model.
Next, I'll slice up the models into chunks that are small enough to fit in the printer, and start cranking out plastic parts.
During this process, I'll simultaneously be working on plotter drawings. These are drawings I make in the computer using a pen and tablet device, then send to a special printer that then literally draws the image with pens or pencils.
When I first heard news of rapid-prototyping technology becoming affordable enough for the average consumer, I was immediately fascinated by the cultural implications this disruptive technology was creating. As an artist, I've been dabbling in 3D printing and other computer-assisted fabrication technologies for a few years now, and so far it had seemed to me a relatively benign process; a wholly positive experience as DIYers explore the possibilities of home fabrication. When I heard about the 3D-printed gun movement I really got interested in exploring the complicated issue of consumer-fabricated weaponry, and what effect that would have on our society.
As an artist who uses technology-based production methods, I want to contribute to the conversation.
So I decided I want to make my own 3D-printed device of obsolete mass destruction: a 1792 guillotine replica, made out of renewable plastic, designed completely from resources found available on the internet, and built using consumer hardware. That's the starting point, anyway. Where it goes from there is a journey I'm excited to take, but it absolutely needs your help to get there.
Why Should You Back This Project?
First, this is a crazy project. No one has ever made a life-sized 3D-printed guillotine out of renewable bioplastic. You should back it just to help make that happen.
Second, establishing credibility: I have a proven track record of pulling off crazy projects with innovative materials (have you seen that NeverWet rain drawing video?) and I've accumulated a list of accolades for my artwork in a very short period of time: within a year of graduating art school with my undergraduate degree in 2011 I was in a major museum collection, within three years I was exhibiting in a major museum. My first solo exhibition in 2012 received several awards and landed on more than one art critic's best-of-the-year list (NSFW so no link). You can check out more of my critical reviews and press mentions here.
Third, you actually get to be an integral part of the project. I want as many individual plastic heads as possible, and the more people that back me at the "scanning" levels the more amazing the final exhibition will be. PLUS! You get your own head in plastic and a sneak peak into my private studio. PLUS PLUS! If you don't live near Atlanta, you can still be a part of the project by having your head made from photos.
Fourth, it's awesome! Did I mention that already? You'll get updates all along the way as a backer and really get an inside look into how an exhibition like this gets made.
Lastly, if the project gets overfunded: more heads! So many heads! Also, I'll be able to add extra goodies to reward levels!
Risks and challenges
There may be some technological hurdles to overcome. I've worked with these technologies before, but not on this scale. However, I don't foresee this being an unsolvable problem as there are many resources in the DIY community available and I've factored enough time into the process to overcome any hurdles.
The other challenge could be an overwhelming response and a backlog of rewards, which may move back the delivery date.
Nope! The guillotine is just the beginning. I'm using it as a vehicle to explore themes of production, consumerism, and technological responsibility. I'm also creating a series of "severed" head portrait sculptures from 3D scans of friends and strangers. Check the rewards!
SCAN of your severed head, likely to be featured in the exhibition. Either in person or from photographs. You'll get a signed 5x7" archival inkjet print of your head, either as a 3D render or from photo documentation of the sculpture.
SCAN of your head PLUS a large 3D printed version of YOUR head (about 8" tall)! You can come to my studio in Atlanta, where I will scan your head with a 3D scanner and I'll give you a personal tour of the studio and we can talk about art, OR I'll send you instructions on how to take a series of photographs and I'll make 3D-printed head from your photos, a version of which is likely to be included in the exhibition (Final exhibition curation has yet to be finalized and I cannot guarantee your particular head will be in the exhibit). Plus a signed photo postcard.
SCAN of your head PLUS your unique head artwork, likely from the exhibition. Final exhibition curation has yet to be finalized and I cannot guarantee your particular head will be in the exhibit. If your head is not in the exhibit, I will consider it as if a commission and create a unique artwork from your head scan. Plus a signed photo postcard.
THE WHOLE KIT AND KABOODLE. In addition to one of each reward, you'll get a life-sized 3D-printed copy of the non-distorted 1792 guillotine. Assembly will be required with local pickup in Atlanta or buyer arranging shipping. Plus a signed photo postcard.