Larger than Life: Leonel Moura Creates Towering 3D Printed Public Sculpture

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Escultura-Leonel-BEEVERYCREATIVE-3D-printingLisbon is a wonderful city, with a combination of old-world charm and the unique circumstances of Portugal’s history. There, you can visit tiny shops selling only custom-made hats, spend your time in world-class museums, or enjoy a delicious competitive pastel de nata bakeoff–and it’s all just off the beaten path enough so one is not swarmed with tourists.

Having experienced economic difficulties after a period of power and splendor, the streets are filled with pastel colored colonial buildings in varying states of disrepair as well as vibrant efforts to support the current cultural scene while keeping afloat.

Off of brick paved streets of Lisbon this October, not only are there monasteries and coffee shops, but you will also find Europe’s largest Information and Communications Technologies event, ICT 2015. And the event location should be easy enough to spot because of the multicolored statue that stands 15 feet high and is prominently displayed at the edge of the street.

The piece was created by Portuguese artist Leonel Moura, an artist with a history of combining art, robotics, AI, and 3D printing. Moura’s work has been shown around the world from Brazil to China to the U.S., where he has a piece in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Natural History.

12034254_834219956692857_1838267566910712201_oThe Amazonian woman stands arms stretched wide and with a firm gaze fixed on the horizon in front of her. Made up of 300 variably colored 3D printed blocks and fittings, she resembles a high-tech harlequin, ready to both entertain and speak the truth.

Moura created the pieces out of PLA plastic using eight BeeTheFirst 3D printers that he has permanently in his studio. The creation of the piece, titled ‘3D Europa,’ was no overnight task, as all in all, it has taken the designer six months to develop the sculpture from initial idea to installation with help from members of the community and the innovative team at BeeVeryCreative.

BeeVeryCreative is interested in more than just being a leader in the production of the machines that do the 3D printing. They hold a commitment to challenging notions of what is possible, as they have explained on their website:

“We want to imprint change through 3D printing…We consider personal creative expression to be a way to the future, unlike any economic theory that, during the last few years, has left us with no space for breathing creativity and inspiring innovation in other types and forms.”

It is no surprise that Moura should have turned his attention to 3D printing as he has always been fascinated with the non-human components of artistic creation. Tapping into this ‘artificial creativity,’ as he terms it, means acknowledging that there is more to art than intention; after all, Yves Klein was famous for painting a series of identical canvases with a solid blue paint, known as Yves Klein blue, and then charging different prices for them based solely on what he was contemplating as he created each one. Moving from this complete intentionality, Moura works to integrate ideas and processes beyond his control to create in conjunction with the machine. As he explained in his manifesto:Untitled

“I discard the relevance of the lack of intentionality and consciousness in robots. It is well known that in modern art history there are many examples of art movements and artists that aimed to achieve precisely those goals. Actually modern art is rooted on the exploration beyond common sense reasoning towards the fields of subjectivity, experimentalism, randomness and more recently chaotic determinism and emergence. Machines can in fact ‘do their own things’ since, once the process is triggered, the result is not only independent from the human that originates it as it is unpredictable. This means that the product of ‘artificial creativity’ is human at the start but nonhuman at the end.”

That should provide some significant food for thought for those gathering at the ICT 2015.  What are your thoughts about this enormous sculpture?  Let us know in the 3D Printed Human Sculpture forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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