les Sismo – Frederic Lecourt & Antoine Fenoglio
High Tech Vanitas
High Tech Vanitas
High Tech Vanitas is a process to get one’s own skull when alive. It offers the 3D printing -toll manufactured- of one’s skull: a digital extraction and tailor-made manufacturing of the skull, exactly as it is (full size, same color, same weight…).
Frederic Lecourt and Antoine Fenoglio, industrial creators and co-founders of Sismo Design
This highly conceptual piece gives a special meaning to new manufacturing processes and their ability to deliver completely new experiences. The magic and wonder of an x-ray of one’s own bones is brought to a completely different level if one can contemplate a highly precise model of one’s own skull. In a world becoming increasingly digital, this project raises many questions about the new types of technology-mediated connections we make with ourselves. The judges appreciated the highly incisive conceptual interrogation with a technology one normally correlates to rapid prototyping.
High Tech Vanitas
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
As the invention of the photographic process allowed to “write down” the human reflection in a portrait, a specific digital technology of 3D printing allows today a new representation of oneself, which was still impossible two years ago.
After 2 years of research on their own initiative, we unveil a machine that produces the ultimate object: one’s own vanitas, “High Tech Vanitas”.
The challenge was to create a link between state of the art technologies: scanner used in medical field, and 3D printing, and to finally produce an object so closely linked to human body.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
High Tech Vanitas is a technological and existential experience. We wished to go further than just an industrial challenge, bringing an existential dimension to the project, an above all, an optimistic point of view to the Vanitas: “The better you imagine death, the more you enjoy life! » we love to say!
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
We wished to valorize all the brand new digital technologies that are needed to achieve the project. All of them already exist, but have never been associated before that project.
With those technologies, they wanted to work with the firms (for example the 3D printing firm) on new functionalities, bring them to fields where they would never have been.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
The process is the following: the “participant” has to provide, on the day of the performance, a DVD with its digital scan. The performance starts at the very time of the scan, as an anticipated moment that is truly part of the process. The digital data are processed to be convert into data that the 3D printer can read.
This step makes the human face visible, through various aspects: face without hair, bones, muscles…Visuals are spectacular and start to make readable the intimacy of tne participant.
Then the 3D printer produces the skull in 8 hours.
We have made researches and many tests to make feasible an object that is “mass produced” and tailor-made at the same time, personalized for each human being.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
Questioning the human being from a product design point of view, High Tech Vanitas reveals the body as a ultimate object, through a design approach: an approach at the same time scientific, technological, creative, of production, and requiring a innovative industrial process to create the object. The function of the created object is to experiment intimately one’s own death, but also in a larger way, to raise various questions:
- linked to genetics: how can design create different series of product, especially when it concern a very personalized matter?
- linked to intimacy: are we disassembled objects, as human being? How are we “manufactured”? What is our mechanical structure?
- linked to temporality, with the extension of the product life, beyond its own finiteness.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?