British artist Sophie Kahn makes beautiful mistakes.
Whereas most 3D scans are made to exactly replicate a given object, Kahn, born in London but raised in Australia, uses a 3D scanner to deconstruct the human body to create the raw material for her unsettling and yet classically familiar visions.
Kahn says her incomplete scans and the resultant sculptures owe their aesthetic to the interaction of new and old media, or the digital and the analog.
"I combine cutting-edge technology, like 3d laser scanning and 3d printing, with ancient bronze casting techniques. I create sculptures and videos that resemble de-constructed monuments or memorials," Kahn says. "They engage questions of time, history, vision, identity and the body."
Her 04302011, a video portrait of 38 New Yorkers whose faces Kahn captured using a 3d laser scanner, results in something both inaccurate and somewhat dangerous to capture, as her subjects are required to close their eyes to protect their vision from being damaged by the scanning laser. She says this necessary element of the process gives her subjects "serene expressions (which) evoke memorial portraiture, and together the display could be seen as a kind of gallery of the dead."
The artist says that the 3D scanning technology she uses was designed to capture inanimate objects, and thus when she uses it to capture the human body, conflicting spatial coordinates create fragmented results – a 3D motion blur which she uses to make 3D printed molds for metal or clay sculptures.
The physical representations of her scans seem incomplete and are, despite their strangeness, entirely representative of their subjects in a way that evokes classical sculpture and the effect the ravages of time has on materials. Kahn casts the files in bronze from her 3D printed molds.
Kahn is a 2013 MFA graduate of the Art & Technology Studies program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also a graduate in Spatial Information Architecture from the RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been displayed as part of the collections New Romantics, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, New York, NY, the Currents New Media Festival: New Media Transforms Tradition, Santa Fe, NM, Ten, Cindy Rucker Gallery, New York, NY and Paddles On!, Philips Auction House, London, UK.