Hybrid living mask prototypes
Research team: Christoph Bader, Dominik Kolb, James C. Weaver. Prof. Neri Oxman.
Location: Design Museum, 2016, London, United Kingdom
Platform: Data Driven Material Modeling
Vespers is a collection of masks exploring what it means to design (with) life. From the relic of the death mask to the death mask as a contemporary living device, the collection embarks on a journey that begins with an ancient typology and culminates with a novel technology for the design and digital fabrication of adaptive and responsive interfaces.
Vespers I features the death mask as a cultural artifact; Vespers III features a living mask as an enabling technology; Vespers II mediates between the two, marking the process of ‘metamorphosis’ between the ancient relic and its contemporaneous manifestation. Thus, we begin with a conceptual piece and end with a tangible set of tools, techniques and technologies combining programmable matter and programmable life.
The masks’ colors are correlated with underlying geometries, which are, in combination, driven by a parametric grammar. In this series, polyhedral meshes are ‘evolved’ into subdivided surfaces using an algorithm, which—like the formation of life itself—emulates cellular subdivision.
Using a minimal set of rules, the series generates a plethora of color/shape schemes. The implementation of the Stratasys full color multi-material 3D printing technology enables the creation of objects—for the first time in the history of additive manufacturing—that match the variety and nuance of ancient crafts.
Smallest printed feature size in micrometers
Diameter of a fat cell in micrometers
The most iconic death masks—like those of Agamemnon and King Tutankhamun—were made entirely of, or inlaid with, precious stones and minerals. The use of color often expressed the cultural attributes of the deceased associated with their spiritual powers, or religious affiliation.
The first series explores life through the lens of death. Inspired by ancient masks, it uses five color combinations commonly found in religious practices across regions and eras, and is embedded with natural minerals, such as bismuth, silver, and gold.
Collaborators & Contributors: Gal Begun; Boris Belocon; Naomi Kaempfer; Danielle Van Zadelhoff; MIT Media Lab
All images and videos courtesy of Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group