See my Etsy shop for 3D printed jewelry and sculptural adaptations of these scans: etsy.com/shop/CosmoWenmanDesign
"When all the archtypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths. Two cliches make us laugh. A hundred cliches move us. For we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, and celebrating a reunion."—Umberto Eco, Casablanca, or, The Cliches are Having a Ball
In the 19th century, important works of sculptural art were reproduced in plaster. Artisans carefully made molds of the ancient originals, and high-quality reproductions were then cast in plaster to be bought, sold, and traded by museums, universities, art schools, and private collectors everywhere. It was a way to share art with people who otherwise would not be able to see it in person -- an analog precedent to the exciting capabilities now coming online with all things 3D capture and 3D printing.
Those 19th century cast collections, once proudly owned and displayed, became unfashionable in the early 1900s. Many were broken up and some were even physically destroyed.
The Skulpturhalle Basel museum in Switzerland has one of the world's few remaining large collections of plaster casts, and it exists today to preserve the pieces and the educational, archival, and research functions the now-abandoned plaster cast tradition once served. The Skulpturhalle has, under one roof, preserved in plaster, the topology of thousands of important sculptures, the originals of which are scattered in museums around the world.
With the permission of the Skulpturhalle's open-minded and forward-thinking directorship, in September, 2013 I spent a week in the museum, making 3D surveys of my pick of their casts of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.
I originally sought funding for this project via Kickstarter, and I found many enthusiastic backers. But when the campaign ultimately failed to reach its fundraising goal, Autodesk's Reality Capture division generously offered to back my project directly. Since I had already planned to use Autodesk's 3D capture solutions, and to share all the survey results and explain how they were made, this sponsorship arrangement was a perfect match. The project remains independent and entirely my own, but it was Autodesk's financial support that made it possible.
These 3D models are modern artifacts and direct descendents of the plaster cast tradition, which is poised for a 3D captured, 3D printed, digital renaissance. They are to my knowledge the first high-quality 3D surveys of these works to be freely published, and I am pleased to be able to offer you direct access to their ancient, enigmatic, and graceful contours, which descend to us through an unbroken chain from antiquity -- from Greek and Roman temple and palace ruins, rocky shorelines and farmers' fields, to museums all over the world, to the Skulpturhalle, through my camera lens, to you.
-- Cosmo Wenman
For an archive of this project's progress, see http://www.throughascanner.com.
For media mentions, see: http://cosmowenman.wordpress.com/media-mentions/
This project was made possible by the financial support of Autodesk's Reality Capture division. My thanks to Tatjana Dzambazova and Brian Mathews there for making it happen, and to the people in Autodesk's Reality Capture and 123D teams, who make incredible products. http://recap.autodesk.com + http://123dapp.com
Thanks to Dr. Tomas Lochman, director of the Skulpturhalle Basel museum, for giving me access to the museum and allowing me to conduct this experiment in extending the reach of its incredible collection and the spirit that informed its creation. http://www.skulpturhalle.ch
I'd also like to thank the following:
Bernard Frischer, Professor of Informatics and Director of the Virtual World Heritage Laboratory, Indiana University, for his advice on where to try this experiment (e dove non), and for introducing me to Dr. Lochman. http://frischerconsulting.com/frischer/projects.html
FARO, for making a FARO Scanarm Edge laser scanner available to me, and to FARO's Florian Fuenfschilling and Chris Bartschat for their expertise operating it and grabbing some laser scans of additional pieces for me. http://faro.com
Ralph Wiedemeier, who made and lent me a custom, 10' tall tripod on wheels that was absolutely critical. He even delivered it to me from Zurich. http://framefactory.ch
Bre Pettis and Kio Stark for early feedback and advice on my Kickstarter campaign. http://brepettis.com + http://kiostark.com
MakerBot for featuring my Kickstarter on Thingiverse.
Kerry Hogarth of the 3D Printshow, for giving me tickets to the London, Paris, and New York shows to use as Kickstarter rewards, and for exhibition space there to show off the project's results. http://3dprintshow.com
Susan Self for her help promoting the Kickstarter to the media. [email protected]
Virginia Postrel for her advice and help telling the story of the bigger picture as it's been coming into focus. http://vpostrel.com/power-of-glamour
Thank you to all my Kickstarter's backers. Even though it wasn't the viral hit we'd hoped for and the campaign fell through, without their support and help promoting it, the project would have remained dead in the water. http://kck.st/1bxMz0I
Original June 6, 2013 Kickstarter-related text:
Please consider supporting my Kickstarter campaign Through A Scanner, Skulpturhalle. I have an incredible opportunity to 3D scan high quality plaster casts of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures at the Skulpturhalle Basel museum in Switzerland, and I need your help. Please take a look at the project description at http://kck.st/19H2GIv
You can help prioritize the scan targets and spread the word at the same time by re-tweeting your picks from this gallery: http://twitter.com/CosmoWenman/media/grid
Leaving comments on or liking and sharing your favorites at the project's Facebook page will help too: http://facebook.com/ThroughAScanner
I've included an example of one of my previous scans -- my scan of "Head of a horse of Selene" from the British Museum's Parthenon collection (a.k.a. the Elgin Marbles). This is the scan quality I'll be shooting for at the Skulpturhalle.
When the project is complete I'll post the Skulpturhalle scans and printable models here on this Thingiverse page. I'll also list and thank project backers here too.
Any amount will help. And please let media outlets and anyone you think might be interested know about the project too. With your help it could be the start of something great.
video link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=SUjvV4xV7NU