Earlier this year, we learned of an intriguing art project planned by artist Eyal Gever, a master of 3D printing in the creative space. The Israeli artist is known for his stunning 3D printed sculptures based on moments in time, on movement, and everything ephemeral. His work is unique, but the piece he is (quite literally) launching today is truly unprecedented. With #Laugh, Gever is freezing and making tangible laughter itself – in space.
Gever isn’t the first person to launch art or media into outer space; that honor goes to a group of artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg, who in 1969 created the “Moon Museum,” a tiny ceramic chip inscribed with miniature sketches and attached to the Intrepid lunar lander on the Apollo 12 mission. In 1977, the Golden Record, a phonograph record containing music, speech and other sounds from Earth, was created by a team led by Carl Sagan and sent into space aboard the Voyager.
What sets Gever’s project apart from the others, however, is that his artwork will be the first to actually be created in space. The actual piece won’t be completed until February, but the project commences today with the launch of the #Laugh app. Anyone who wishes can download the app, record their laughter, and convert the sound file into a 3D model resembling a burst of light. The “laugh star” that receives the most likes throughout the month of December will be used by Gever to design a digital sculpture.
In February, Gever will send his completed design file from his Tel Aviv studio to NASA’s Operations Support Center in Huntsville, Alabama. From there, it will be sent via satellite uplink to the Additive Manufacturing Facility aboard the International Space Station, where it will be 3D printed by one of the crew.
“Space has intrigued and inspired some of the greatest minds since the beginning of mankind. Working with Eyal Gever, we are excited to be able to realize one of mankind’s dreams – creating cultural contributions that will be created and live on beyond Earth,” said Andrew Rush, CEO and President of Made In Space, which created the Additive Manufacturing Facility and invited Gever to be the first artist to create in space. “Through this contest, Made in Space is providing the general public a fun, engaging and unique opportunity to further validate the capabilities of the AMF in a microgravity environment. Further demonstrations on the AMF will showcase the unique and exciting possibilities of 3D printing on the ISS, and set the foundation for printing principles in space for the future.”
Once it’s been 3D printed, the “laugh star” will be released into orbit, where it will float among the actual stars, perhaps to be discovered one day by some future mission – or by extraterrestrials. Also collaborating on the #Laugh project is Platoon, a new accelerator for artists.
2017 is set to be a big year for Gever, who in addition to #Laugh will be busy with several other projects, including a sculptural version of his famous “Waterdancer” light projection installation. He will also be opening a solo exhibition at the Segev Gallery in Tel Aviv and creating a new light projection piece commissioned by curator Peter Wiebel.
If you’d like to take a chance at having your laughter immortalized as a 3D printed star in outer space, you can download the #Laugh iOS app here.