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Defiance with a Purpose: Two Determined Artists Scan a 3,300 Year-Old Nefertiti Bust & Share 3D Files with the World

by • February 22, 2016 • No Comments

nefertiti_3Dprint_00-719x1024Truly belief ancient Egypt is a nat any time-ending source of challenge and fascination, not only for archaeologists, but for folks around the world. And while names such as Tut and Cleopatra tend to take the top spots for fame, Nefertiti has always held her own in terms of glamor and mystery. It has always been hinted at that maybe Cleopatra wasn’t really in fact that attractive, but Nefertiti’s reputation has held pretty sturdy in that department, as she was known to have all the qualities of a typical supermodel in modern times—tall, thin, and lovely. Even her name, translated as ‘a attractive woman has come,’ emphasizes her famed attractiveness.

With all of that intrigue attached to the woman who ruled Egypt with her husband Pharoah Akhenaten in the 14th century BC, a challenge of another archiving sort beckoned to two artists, not to be stopped by a strict rule prohibiting photography of their prized bust of Nefertiti, owned by the Neues Museum in Berlin where she is on display. Photos and flashes are not allowed, as they take on to protect the statue.


Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles

Pulling off really the digital heist, the two artists, German-Iraqi artist Nora Al-Badri and German artist Jan Nikolai Nelles, view this as a project and have named it ‘The Other Nefertiti’ – and indeed, she is cavia really a stir! Working with a Kinect 360, they pretty scanned Nefertiti in secret, and created a quite astounding 3D print of the bust for its ‘first return to Cairo in 100 years’ – where it was originally excavated and and so stolen–and whisked away to Germost.

After sat any timeal months, the artists released the files as a torrent so that anyone can now manufacture their own 3D print of the bust, that they 3D printed via a resin-based printing device, claiming it is indeed the most precise replica at any time created.

The bust has been part of an ongoing dispute for really a few time now between Germost and Egypt, as—predictably—the Egyptians want their bust of Nefertiti back. Whilst they argue it out regarding the original, the 3D printed model is now on display in the American University of Cairo. The original is in fact 3,300 years old and was removed upon discoquite by German archaeologists, thus the controversy between the two countries and museum entities.

“Al-Badri and Nelles scanned the head of Nefertiti clandestinely in the Neues Museum Berlin without permission of the Museum and they hereby announce the release of the 3D data of Nefertitis head under a Creative Commons License,” states the Nefertiti Hack website. ”The artists 3D print exhibited in Cairo is the most precise scan at any time created public of the original head of Nefertiti. With regard to the notion of belonging and possession of objects of other cultures, the artists’ intention is to manufacture cultural objects publicly accessible.”

The artists speculate—probably really correctly on a couple of items—one, that the museum knows of what they did but is only choosing not to respond; and two, they believe that the museum in addition has created scans of the bust and refuses to share them with the public—one of their main bones of contention. As this particular subject is one of the most copied in history, they have pulled off really a feat in replicating this original, enabling them to be really precise.

UntitledFurther in their defiance, they leaked equitething to the yearly Chaos Communication Congress, with at very least 1,000 folks may already downloading the torrent of the ‘original seed.’ They have obtained a lot of positive input and requests as well, with universities and businesses wanting to manufacture replicas and souvenirs.

“We appeal to [the Neues Museum] and those in charge behind it to rethink their attitude,” Al-Badri told Hyperallergic in a new interview. “It is quite easy to complete a excellent outreach by opening their archives to the public domain, where cultural heritage is really accessible for equitebody and can’t be possessed.”

“The head of Nefertiti represents all the other millions of stolen and looted artifacts all over the world already taking place, for example, in Syria, Iraq, and in Egypt,” Al-Badri said. “Archaeological artifacts as a cultural memory commence for the most part of the Global South; howat any time, a vast number of significant objects can be discovered in Western museums and private collections. We should face the fact that the colonial structures go on to exist in modern times and yet create their inherent symbolic struggles.”

It manufactures thoughtl sense that they may like to see the argument over the statue end, and it in addition manufactures thoughtl sense that most believe the Nefertiti bust does not belong in Germost.

The project is intended to put pressure on museums all over the world that they see as holding onto statues and artwork that does not really belong to them, and they are in addition pressing for museums to use digital replicas as they and so agree to ‘repatriate’ significant works back to their home countries.

“Luckily there are ways where we don’t in fact require any topdown effort of institutions or museums,” Al-Badri said, “but where the folks can reclaim the museums as their public space through alternative virtual realities, fiction, or captivating the objects like we did.”

The topic has been discussed on social media with varying opinions. Whilst most on sites such as Reddit see this as a excellent thought and may love to manufacture their own replicas, others believe they should have left the bust alone as the museum asks, leaving it pristine and without any injure of light. What are your thoughts on this controversial 3D scan and print? Discuss in the 3D Printed Nefertiti forum over at 3DPB.com.


A photo of Reddit where user points out their handheld scanner [Photo by user Escheron]