Introduction: Incompleteness

Sculptural explorations with 123D Catch

Step 1: Getting to 3D

I was working on some new sculptural cutouts of historical documents of protesters. Therefore I had to make a portrait of a young woman sticking the tongue out. Usually I mold people, transforming them by modeling their portrait to make the resemblance, but for this new project the tongue was a problem for molding.A friend of mine advised me to try 123D Catch to scan the face of a woman and then to edit it with a 3D printer and it worked. I could use the digital print as a good basis for modeling.

Step 2:

The experience with 3D tools created a promising renewal of my sculptural process, but there was happening something new as well. When I came across the result I was captivated by the background of the portrait. I discovered then that this software generates a very interesting aesthetic by the way the program analyzes the surrounding architecture and cuts out space. The resulting visual with its patchy rendition was fascinating to me. These forms looked much alike former sculptural explorations I made with laser cutout. This formal link to my aesthetic choices made it very exciting to work on it.

Step 3: Experimentations With Space

I started to do some experiences with persons and space, erasing the figures before rendering the 3d model, so to develop only the fragments of space. The resulting visual convinced me that space was the interesting part of it to develop as sculptural project. It generates a new approach to engage the political aspect of space which matches the issues I address in my work : creating a volume from an image, assuming the incompleteness of the reconstitution in order to metaphorically question what remains of the events through documents and contemporary digital media.

Step 4: Simulation in Space

Before realizing a large scale project, I tried a photoshop simulation with the 3D rendered fragments in space. The result seemed very interesting to me. Choosing documents for the space which is represented produces, as one can see, forms which are both typically digital and seemingly decaying, thus talking simultaneously of the future and of ruins, of a past perishing in a fragmented digital memory and a world in the period of dematerialisation.

Step 5: Editing the Prototype

Now it became necessary to make a prototype of the 123D catch model, to see how the sculptural translations behave with this very skinny surfaces.

At this moment I was staying in Shanghai for a residency program and I could collaborate with the 3D crew at the university of Shanghai, who helped to finish the model and to edit it on a 3D printer (PolyJet technology 3D prints).The resulting prototype with its fragments in space and the formal aspect was even more interesting then the simulations in images.

Step 6: Painting in Grey

Once the prototype finished I did build a small model of space to install the fragments. To give the impression of floating sculptures, all elements are fixed on a little distance to the wall and the ground. I did paint than the fragments in dark grey, because the abstraction produced by the monochrome, and detaching the forms in the space as forms themselves is also an integral part of the project as a proposition related to the history of sculpture, and notably post-minimalism.

The next step will be to realize a new project with a historical space of counterculture and to edit huge 3D space fragments, as monuments of digital documentation.