First Ever Outer Space Sculpture Will Be 3D Printe...

First Ever Outer Space Sculpture Will Be 3D Printed Laughs

As the film Alien famously taglines, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” This may be true for any sound emitted in outer space as it is a virtual vacuum. However, Israeli concept artist Eyal Gever, in partnership with NASA, has found a clever way to literally to turn sound into art in space. By making digital representations of electromagnetic vibrations, even the dullest of sound can become a space-bound sculpture. As the world’s first piece of art created in space, they have chosen a universal subject: human laughter, which they will print a physical representation of on their zero-gravity 3D printer aboard the International Space Station.

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“#Laugh (mock-up),” Eyal Gever. Photo: Eyal Gever

Gever is no novice in the field of developing proprietary 3D technologies. After making a name for himself with nearly twenty years of experience in the field, Made in Space Inc. — the NASA partner founded in 2010 with the goal of “enabling humanity’s future in space” — offered him the opportunity to become the first artist to make art in space. They gave him one challenge: to create art in zero gravity.

The project is not only pioneering a new artistic avenue but is an exciting experiment for new technology and the zero-gravity 3D printer of Made in Space. The company’s CTO Jason Dunn, in a documentary about the #Laugh project, revealed that this is a huge step for merging the avenues of art and technology. “One of the areas that we are excited a lot about is art and how we can design new types of art that maybe we can’t even bring back to earth, because we’re building a sculpture that wouldn’t even survive in gravity,” he said.

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Artist Eyal Gever. Photo: Eyal Gever

The company reasons that if humanity is ever to thrive in space, creating art in space is as equally important as sending out people and the technology to support them. This 3D printing is set to become a critical part of that vision, as in-space production will be required to not only decrease the costs of space travel but to instill a sustainable, creative living environment. Although it may sound like science fiction, Made in Space has already announced the debut of their first commercially available zero gravity 3D printer in 2015.

For what will be the world’s first piece of art created in space, the subject must hold significance that is not culturally exclusive. After mulling over a range of ideas, one of his friends suggested laughter. With such a global concept, Gever wanted to go further and create a piece that is participatory and unifying. He has developed a platform where people from around the world can record themselves laughing, visualize its digital representation via an app, and share it with their friends. Laughter with the most traffic—shares and retweets—after three months will be sent to the International Space Station to be 3D printed and sent into orbit. Together, the sound simulations of crowd-sourced laughter will form a 3D sculpture.

To encompass the social accessibility of the project and the Internet Age it stems from, Gever settled on an aptly hash-tagged title: #Laugh. “The earliest cave paintings were of human hands, which were a way of proclaiming and celebrating the presence of humanity,” says Gever. “#Laugh will be the 21st century version of that—a mathematically-accurate encapsulation of human laughter, simply floating through space, waiting to be discovered.”

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“The Sounds of Earth,” Voyager Golden Record. Photo: Wikipedia

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3D rendering of a human laugh. Photo: Eyal Gever

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3D rendering of a human laugh. Photo: Eyal Gever

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Quincy Childs is an Art and Architecture History major who divides her time between the studios and open-air museums of Paris and New York. Beyond her poetry, her favorite artistic movements include the Hellenistic periods and Pausania’s writings, early Italian Renaissance and 19th Century Symbolism, Rubens and 17th Century Flemish Baroque art, and 19th Century philosophy, literature, art criticism, and theory.