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Video: 3D Printing – The Rapid Sculpture Project


by Cindy Chaffin 11 Apr 2010

There are some incredible things going on just under the streets of Dyer and Airline on the SMU campus. The basement of the J. Lindsay Embrey Building is home to the Rapid Prototyping Lab, a part of the SMU Engineering School. Jerome Weeks takes us on a fascinating adventure into the world of 3D printing […]

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There are some incredible things going on just under the streets of Dyer and Airline on the SMU campus. The basement of the J. Lindsay Embrey Building is home to the Rapid Prototyping Lab, a part of the SMU Engineering School.

Jerome Weeks takes us on a fascinating adventure into the world of 3D printing and rapid prototyping and the artists chosen to participate in this exciting project in this KERA radio story.

The above video documents the unveiling of participating artist, Ginger Fox’s contribution to this project, from her Light Gallery, entitled Who’s Pulling the Strings.

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  • Bill Marvel

    Model railroaders have been using this technique for several years now to produce exquisitely detailed — and historically correct — models. Old-fashioned balsa and brass craftsmen are slowly disappearing.

    Of manufacturers, hobbyists, artists, the artists are usually the last to adopt a new technology.

  • I’d hazard that’s probably because, of the three groups, artists generally have the smallest amount of money and the weakest incentives. I’d also say that for many artists, much of their training goes into learning the traditions — going back hundreds of years. And there’s something to be said for that. Last week, I saw Frances Scully Osterman’s fascinating demonstration of 19th-century wet-plate photography at the DMA. It’s an outdated, labor-intensive technique that has nonetheless gained renewed favor among a number of high-art photographers.

  • Bill Marvel

    Artists often pick up on outmoded technologies, turning what was once useful into art. Neon is a great example. Black and white photography lingered as a fine arts medium long after everybody else had given it up. Artists discovered television — !! — in the 1960s, and computers a decade later.
    I remember attending an Art & technology exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum in the 1970s. Almost every work could have been produced in the 1950s.
    This is not so bad a thing. I suspect we want artists to think for awhile, play around, before adopting the Next Big Thing. Often the first works in a technology are a bit embarrassing. Almost like, “Hey look, this little gadget make pictures!”

  • Laray

    It’s not that artists are behind technology, it’s usually those innovations are exploited to commercial and populist ends in the beginning. The artist can’t comment on that part of the equation until the affects are known. Nam June Paik’s TV installations and Warhol’s soup cans come to mind. Of the latter, those images have relevance because the subject matter is a common object. Using a very old technology, silkscreen, he scaled the image larger. In The Factory, no less. Re-introducing consumers of soup and art to the elevated commonplace, we begin to see both in a new light.

    In short, it depends on what layer and artist we’re talking about. The question of what the “medium” really is, I think, may be more complex than particles suspended in gelatin, paint, ink, radio waves, etc.