I had the privilege to visit the Factum Arte production facility in Madrid last week. The huge industrial space that spans a full city block allows for artists and arts institutions to explore the potential for digital technology to produce high quality replicas of great art and create new works of art. According to founder Adam Lowe, the objective of Factum Arte is the use technology to conserve and preserve, not replace. The range of projects that Factum Arte takes on are endless because they can invent (by rigging together cameras, lights and frames) a machine to tackle any digitization challenge presented.
I was most impressed with a piece Factum Arte produced for Marina Abramovic’s Five Stages of Maya Dance. This piece is not new — it was made in 2013 — but remains a very intriguing use of 3D printing. Some photos and video from me — the website has many more. A scan of Abramovic’s head was made and printed a relief in alabaster. The effect is that from far away the work looks like a series of photographs, but as you move closer you see it is actually an alabaster block with a cut outs of Abramovic’s facial expressions.
What is wonderful about the Factum Arte space is that it brings together artists, craftsmen and technologists in a space for explorations and innovation. It is not an assembly line-type manufacturing centre, nor a lab. It is a modern day renaissance workshop.