Artist Duo 3D Prints the Super Bowl, But It Doesn’t Look Like You’d Expect

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benitez_vogl_49_02-1024x528When you think of the Super Bowl, you may not think of art. Sure, there’s plenty of artistry that goes into the halftime show and, of course, the best commercials of the year, but in in terms of traditional visual art – well, the Super Bowl is no fruit bowl when it comes to commonly painted subjects. However, there’s nothing traditional about Margarita Benitez and Markus Vogl’s 3D printed Super Bowl sculpture series. The duo, known as benitez_vogl, have 3D printed all 50 Super Bowl games in their entirety.

How is that possible? Well, 3D printing has opened up a whole new sculptural realm that enables artists to turn the fleeting or invisible into the solid and permanent. We’ve written about creative individuals who have turned music or other sounds into sculpture by 3D printing sound waves, for example. In the case of benitez_vogl’s versus 0.02 [gridiron] series, distance and movement are the basis for the design. Each sculpture traces the path of the ball across the field over the course of the game, so that the game is depicted, play by play, as a series of arcs.

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To generate the sculptures, data from each game, available online, is analyzed to create a visual representation based on the distance the ball traveled for each play. The information is input into a 3D software program and then printed. The completed sculpture looks like a path of boulders, or a child’s drawing of round clouds. If you examine it closely, however, you can follow the progress of the game, starting with the kickoff at the very back. Incomplete circles at the edges of the sculpture represent field goals or touchdowns. Gaps between the arches mark fumbles, fouls or penalties that interrupt the ball’s travel.

vs2_chrome_1The sculpture of this year’s Super Bowl was just completed, and can be purchased, along with any of the preceding 49 games, in the duo’s Shapeways shop. Sculptures are printed in white Strong & Flexible PLA for a price of about $200, but options are also offered in sandstone or several metals.

Benitez, a fashion technologist and assistant professor at Kent State University, and Vogl, an assistant graphic design professor at the University of Akron, have been working together since 2000. Their work frequently focuses on the confluence of art and technology, and 3D printing has been a favorite tool in recent years. A 2014 project called {skin}-D.E.E.P (Digital Ephemeral Epidermal Patterns) involved 3D printed jewelry that, when removed, gave human skin the temporary texture of snakeskin. Other projects have involved clothing based on computer code, a “synesthetic augmented reality application” and an installation that combined ice blocks, LED lights and custom software.

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Versus 0.02 [gridiron] was the follow-up to VS :: 0.01 [eight-ball], which turned the movement of billiard balls over the course of a pool game into a sound composition. Premiering in 2012, the piece was announced as the first in a series of “sonically interpreted sports events.” The project has changed a bit, with Versus 0.02 [gridiron] turned into a solid visual sculpture rather than sound, but I’m curious to see if additional installments will be added to the series. As we’ve seen, there’s a lot that can be done to turn hard data into abstract art. Below, you can see Benitez and Vogl discussing their two 3D printed projects. Discuss in the 3D Printed Super Bowl Game forum over at 3DPB.com.

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