Monday, 1:24pm
26 September 2011

Mini-Me

‘Be Your Own Souvenir’: fifteen minutes from pose to plastic figurine

When I wrote about BlablabLAB’s ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’ project as part of ‘Tangible Digital’ (Eye 80), I thought I’d missed my chance to be immortalised in a 3D plastic miniature, writes John Ridpath.

But eight months on from their first event in Barcelona, the Spanish collective brought their laptops, 3D printers and scanners to London, to take part in the Alpha-ville digital festival.

Above: Video of the original ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’ project, which took place in Barcelona’s La Rambla in January 2011.

Below: ‘Tangible Digital’, opening spread. Eye 80.

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To take part in ‘Be Your Own Souvenir’, participants are asked to stand on a small podium and strike a pose for a few minutes while a three-dimensional model of their body is scanned by three Kinects (hacked Xbox 360 interfaces with 3D depth sensors). The data is then passed to a 3D printer, and rendered in low-res plastic from the feet up - all within fifteen minutes.

As I wrote in Eye 80, ‘There is definitely a certain charm to the crude, bright yellow, low-res aesthetic of the figurines – but the real magic is in the immediacy by which the physical turns to digital, then back to physical.’

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For their latest installation, BlablabLAB had set up shop in Red Market Square, behind what used to be the Foundry pub in Old Street (see ‘Foundry occupation’). Figurines were now available in orange and blue. After posing (with a companion), I watched the double figurine emerge (above) with curiosity. Next to the printer was a miniature graveyard of statuettes gone wrong - some missing heads and limbs, reaching their bizarre end in a tangle of string-like plastic. Thankfully, we avoided such a fate and walked away with a bright blue, one-off souvenir (below).

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Below: Some of the 3D printer’s casualties.

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22 > 25 September 2011
Alpha-ville 2011
Various venues
London
www.alpha-ville.co.uk

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. For a taste of the new issue, see Eye before you buy on Issuu. Eye 80 is out now.

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