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Portrait Landscape

in progress

[The User]

Emmanuel Madan

Thomas McIntosh

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What, at a time when we are aswim in an ocean of self-obsessed imagery spawned by Facebook, the ubiquity of cameras and the (appropriately egregiously-named) ‘selfie’, does portraiture mean? Is a portrait distinct from an-image-which-is-not-a-portrait merely because it is created by an artist? Perhaps Walter Benjamin’s prescient 1936 prediction of the loss of aura of the work of art in the face of mechanical mass reproduction might be extended to concept of identity itself? Should we accept the dualism of celebrity and anonymity proposed by those that own our media and social networks where identity is metered and measured? Portrait Landscape is a large-format 3D printer that sculpts faces from sand and water. The chosen sculpting medium is inherently ephemeral, associated with the space of play – evoking the sand castles and constructions of the imagination – as well as recalling the mortality and transitory nature of the individual.

The prototype sand printer was designed and built by [The User] with help from Rene Bakker, a Dutch engineer, American wunderkind Atom Pechman and engineering autodidact Ken Campbell.