The next generation of ‘selfies’: 3D printing?

Credit: Lorna Barnshaw
Credit: Lorna Barnshaw

Whether in a revolution, crime scene or dinner party, the selfie – Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year – is an essential souvenir. British art student Lorna Barnshaw has taken the craze a step further with her “Replicants” project, capturing herself with the most advanced scanners and 3D-printing herself in full size.

Metro: I read that you wanted to recreate reality. How close did you come?

Barnshaw: Not very close, because the scanners create glitches, so this is more about showing where the technology is at the moment. I tried to step back and let the machines do the work but they struggled at times and couldn’t get the back of the head right.

I tried all the available options but you can’t recreate natural lighting so the face appears lifeless and cold. With photos you can see emotion in a real-life environment. In a way this is what happens to us as we adapt and integrate with technology.

What does this say about human immersion in technology?

It’s very strong and you can see that already with printed body parts and the augmented reality we can access. It’s both exciting and scary, because technology has glitches. We are always trying to perfect it but never satisfied.

Does the selfie craze prove we are all hopeless narcissists now?

It’s about documentation of everything in life and gives you the appearance of control in it. We can create mirrors wherever we go.

What might you do with your replicant?

I’m sure it would make a good alibi.


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