In the film Bladerunner, Replicants are androids - biorobotic, synthetic humans that try to pose as real people to avoid being terminated. They can pose as humans, despite being genetically engineered robots, because the differences between humans and androids in Bladerunner’s timeline is almost indistinguishable. What I am trying to point out is that in that universe, humans and technology have co-mingled in an intricate and intimate enough way to make them almost unrecognizable from the other. In a project that has the same title as the androids, Replicants, artist Lorna Barnshaw has tried to demonstrate the level of human interaction with technology and software by replicating real human portraits into a digital computer application, and bringing them back into physical reality via 3D-printing.
Using three different computer platforms and interfering as little as possible with said programs, Barnshaw has created a series of mask-like sculptures that both imitate and abstract the human form. One of the programs was set to turn a photograph into a 3-D model, resulting in a highly rendered, yet somewhat pixellated portrait mask. Another program has turned the face into a geometric, melting set of forms, turning the human face into a set of abstract, three dimensional data. The aim of the project was see what would happen if humanity was put through a digital filter while ‘replicating’ reality as closely as possible, manipulating each 3-D printing program as little as possible. While Bladerunner resides in the realm of science-fiction, the relationship between humanity and technology it portrays is echoed and applied in Replicants, a work made possible by real science and technology that is becoming more present and assimilated into mundane life.
To view the project web page, click here.