The University of Newcastle, Australia

Fine Art Photomedia students work on Experimenta Exhibition's 3D Printing Project

Friday, 26 June 2015

Bachelor of Fine Art Photomedia students have been invited to assist and work with Cake Industries, in delivering a 3D printing project as part of nationally touring exhibition, Experimenta Recharge.

The Lock-Up will present Experimenta Recharge: 6th International Biennial of Media Art, from 10 July to 9 August 2015. As part of this exhibition, media artists Jesse Stevens and Dean Petersen of Cake Industries, are inviting 15 people from the Newcastle community to have their portrait taken. The media artists will be using 3D printing technology to reinstate the sense of occasion and significance of portraiture for their work, Simulacrum.

Our Fine Art (Photomedia) students will be responsible for identifying, selecting and inviting an initial 30 members of the Newcastle community. The students will also capture the participants' 2D portraits, with a focus on teasing out the individuals' characters and personalities. The selection process is designed to be as fair and broad as possible, with a diverse cross-section of community represented.

Click here to learn more about volunteering opportunities and to access the exhibition's calendar of events.


The capturing of one's likeness was once a special occasion that marked an event, or an elevation to a status. These images weren't simply pigment on paper, but were actually chemically etched representations that became physical objects unable to be reproduced. Much of this harks back to the earliest photography called Daguerreotype, in which complicated and experimental processes in the early to mid-19th century were used to capture likenesses.

Due to the specialised nature of these early Daguerreotypists, entire towns would come to see a travelling specialist to have their portraits taken, which resulted in both an important occasion, as well as significant collections of portraits kept even to this day. With the advent of cheap disposable digital photography, the occasion has been lost along with the importance of process.

Simulacrum aims to breathe new life into this tradition, to mark the process as being an important and special occasion, with the outcome something worthy of marvel and intrigue. Using current day experimental processes, Cake Industries will capture the selected members of the community via a 3D scanning and printing portraiture project.

The artists will use three-dimensional image data scans of participants, which will be formed into a digital 3D object, then adjusted, added to, and finally, fabricated using 3D printing. The portraits will be placed in specially built frames that light and animate them, presenting a new take on the idea of a portrait.

The Performance

The scanning process is presented as a performance within the space of The Lock-Up during the exhibit's opening weekend on 11 & 12 July 2015. Participants are invited to come in to have their portrait 'taken' at a set time. Audiences are invited to watch the process also, although being a performance, there will not be discussion around the technology or purchasing of equipment. Guidelines for possible participants will be provided to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved.

3D Printed Portraits on National Tour

From the body of work produced by our Fine Art Photomedia students, 13 of these portraits will be selected by The Lock-Up's selection committee to have their 3D portrait 'taken' by the Cake Industries. A further 2 portraits will be nominated by The Lock-Up.

The printed portraits will travel with the installation to the next exhibition venue on the Experimenta Recharge national tour. Experimenta will arrange for portraits to be returned to gallery staff in the community where they were taken, and gallery staff and UoN students can arrange for participants to collect their portraits.

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