Singer Björk has commissioned a set of wild 3D-printed masks for her upcoming shows. These masks, made in conjunction with MIT’s Mediated Matter lab and Stratasys, are called Rottlace and have a strange, hairy quality thanks to advances in 3D printing filament and new printing techniques. Professor Neri Oxman lead the team that made the masks.
“I am so incredibly blown away by Neri Oxman’s work and excited to finally work with her,” said Björk. “She is a true pioneer in capturing the biological with 3D printing in such a refined and profound way. It’s been a real joy to get to know her!”
The mask “emulates Björk’s facial structure” and thanks to quick 3D scan of her mug and some wild rendering that adds musculature and hair to the face.
There is a lot of weird talk about “whole without parts” and “tunable physical properties” in the press release but rest assured these are really cool masks and they would be impossible to make using normal methods.
￼One of the masks from the series was selected for Björk’s stage performance at the Tokyo Miraikan Museum, and 3D printed by Stratasys using multi-material 3D printing. This process enables the production of elaborate combinations of graded properties distributed over geometrically complex structures within a single object. The project implements Stratasys’ Connex3 technology using three materials with pre-set mechanical combinations varying in rigidity, opacity, and color, as a function of geometrical, structural, and physiological constraints.
The designs are informed by the geometrical and material logics that underlie the human musculoskeletal system; specifically, the complex structure of muscles, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments that modulate the human voice. This continuous weave of dense collagen fibers form functional ‘typologies’ of connections: muscle-to-bone, bone-to-bone, and muscle-to-muscle. As in the human body, where continuous, collagenous elements alter their chemical and mechanical properties as a function of the tension they exert or endure, each mask is designed as a synthetic ‘whole without parts.’ The masks incorporate tunable physical properties recapitulating, augmenting, or controlling the facial form and movement behind them. Inspired by their biological counterpart, and conceived as ‘muscle textile,’ the masks are bundled, multi-material structures, providing formal and structural integrity, as well as movement, to the face and neck.
This is probably one of the first times such complex 3D-printed objects have been used on a stage show and, thanks to the design, they can stand up to a few hours of wear and tear and look weird/great in the process. The singer will also wear a 3D-printed threeASFOUR Pangolin dress to an upcoming event which is made of a more durable and twistable Nano Enhanced Elastomeric Technology filament. In short Björkers gotta Björk.