Remixing Ancient Art at Samson Young’s Venice Biennale Exhibition ‘Songs for Disaster Relief’
This article from Shapeways Magazine shows how 3D printing can help in remixing ancient art for today’s world.
At the top of the legendary Daru staircase in the Louvre stands a marble sculpture from the Hellenistic period, dating from around 190 BCE, of the Greek goddess of victory. Her expansive wings spread behind her in a gracefully powerful stance. This iconic piece is known as Winged Victory, or the Nike of Samothrace.
In the center of the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, there’s also a Winged Victory. This one, however, is made of 3D printed nylon, and it has… some baggage. Instead of standing triumphant, she lays burdened in a glass case, with busts of Pythagoras and Ronald Reagan — not to mention a space station — emerging from her body.
What does it all mean? This dramatic and slightly unsettling piece is part of sound artist Samson Young‘s exhibit, “Songs for Disaster Relief.” Young, who works with both existing sounds and his original compositions, takes charity pop singles as his point of departure. Inspired by pieces like the 1985 song “We Are the World,” which has been critiqued for its stereotypical depiction of Africa in need, he embarks on a critique of the whole idea of “saving the world with music.” In particular, his discomfort with the recent, extremely popular remakes of these charity songs in Hong Kong drove him to then remake them himself — with heavy modifications.
To accompany his hauntingly remade charity singles, Young filled the exhibit with installations that reflect the cultural and political circumstances that gave rise to these songs in the first place. “Palazzo Gundane (homage to the mythmaker who fell to earth),” the title of the altered Nike of Samothrace, seems to depict the kind of cultural mix that powered the very colonialism that caused the problems the charity singles were meant to address. But, we leave you to your own interpretation.
What might be less apparent than the meaning of the piece is the fact that the sculpture, partially 3D designed by Cosmo Wenman, was entirely 3D printed at Shapeways.
This article reprinted with permission from Shapeways Magazine.
Interested in 3D printing your own ancient art, including the Winged Victory? Find some inspiration here!
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