Designed by Neri Oxman and The Mediated Matter Group
For the the NEW ANCIENT COLLECTION curated by Stratasys
A Series of 15 Death Masks
Produced on a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 and J750 Full-Color, Multi-Material 3D Printer
Comprising 15 masks in three sub-series, Vespers portrays the past, present and future, and explores the themes of past worlds and future technologies. Made of a single material, such as wax or plaster, the death mask has historically originated as a means of capturing a person’s visage, keeping the deceased ‘alive’ through memory. Vespers’ death masks, however, are designed to reveal cultural heritage and speculate about the perpetuation of life, both cultural and biological.
Vespers’ designs are entirely data driven, digitally generated, 3D printed, and – at times – biologically augmented. By pushing the boundaries of cusp technologies – such as high-resolution material modelling, full color multi-material 3D printing, and synthetic biology – they express the death mask’s deeper meanings and possible future use, thus bringing it back to life.
Sub-series one of the Vespers collection, entitled ‘Past’, looks at historic origins, exploring life through the lens of death. The second sub-series, ‘Present’, explores the transition between life and death, reflecting the progression of the death mask from a symbolic cultural relic in the first sub-series to a functional biological interface in the third. Rebirth is embodied in the third sub-series of masks, called ‘Future’. Perhaps the most ground-breaking of the trilogy, the final sub-series engages with synthetic biology to explore whether the death mask can drive the formation of new life, repositioning the objects as habitats capable of interfacing with living microorganisms.