Life size snapshot statue in grey scale

“La Trattativa” is an artwork by Alessandro Sambini (detail, 2019). It’s a portrait after a photograph from the client Antonio Michele Coppola in his home. This snapshot is 3d visualized as a statue, fixed in time and space.

Alessandro Sambini
La Trattativa is a photographic project that stems from the need to create a closely linked dialogue between Antonio Michele Coppola’s domestic territory and a new “intruder”, a specially-made work of mine. “The unwanted guest, the arrogant stranger, the overbearing visitor, all these subjects are promptly let in by virtue of their unbridled intensity. However, because of their dissociative nature, their poor cohesion with the location, they are forgotten, shelved, sunk into oblivion just as quickly: ignored”.

Joris van Tubergen
From my perspective as an Industrial designer / Inventor / Realist / Artist this interesting project has four completely different aspects I would like to point out:

One, the size of a 3D print. Two, the innovative software and technique used. Three, the snapshot statue and four, the man in the room.

Let me start with the first technical and financial aspect: Nowadays everything bigger than a melon is considered a large object in the 3D printing world. In this project a life size human being is 3D printed with affordable, relatively low-tech techniques. This means in theory a 14 year old is able to save his money and do the same project. Also the materials used, PLA bio-based fillament, are very affordable compared to the industrial-grade materials used in industrial printing techniques.

The second innovative aspect considers a part of a PhD research by Tim Kuipers a few years ago. Tim is one of the core developers of the so-called slicer engine Cura (3D printing software). In his research, he adjusted the slicing process software in such a way that you can get a greyscale effect of the surface of your model by using only an FDM printer with 2 colors. In his paper, the technique was proved on small models 10-15 cm high and the printing time took over 15-24 hours or longer. Using the same technique on a life-size human 3D model would make the project impossible to fulfill in terms of time. A conversion of the settings was made, but unsure was if the effect would still be visible when printing with this new technique. Some smaller tests looked very promising and in consultation with Alessandro, the step to creating the final statue like this was made without fully understanding how it would turn out.

So far the interesting aspects from the view of 3D printing technology. During the project, I started to realize a maybe far more interesting one: The snapshot statue. When photography was still innovative, people were without exception asked to pose before the picture was taken. But nowadays snapshots are ruling photography. In this project, for me, the non-posed pose of the statue is like a black and white snapshot. I think it’s the first snapshot statue in the world. Curious if this will be regular within 10 years.

This third aspect is connected to the last, the man in the room effect. The non-distinct pose supports the life size statue in a way that you really feel like there is someone else in the room. During the project I kept seeing a person in my studio. You turn around, do the things you need to do, and than, again, in the blink of an eye, who’s there? Oh yes, him again. Somehow the brains cannot distinguish a real person from a black and white 3D printed statue, not even after

Commissioned by: Antonio Michele Coppola
Artist: Alessandro Sambini
Curator: Giovanna Repetto
Grayscale Slicing Software: Tim Kuipers
3D print specialist: Joris van Tubergen
Produced 2019