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I have been digging through obscure databases of automatically uploaded cloud galleries, where file-sharing networks carry along and facilitate the distribution of the .OBJs, .3DPs, and .STLs of countless non-manifold 3D models.

As the first 3D scanners and scanning applications reach consumers and amateurs, I've noticed that one of the common types of scans that is always being shared (and which is usually a user's first scan) is that of the room they are in - a living room, a bedroom, a working room, etc. As with the uptake of any new technology, human error and technical problems comes into play, compromising the quality of the scans. Changing lighting conditions, shaky camera, changing camera perspective, people accidentally casting their own shadows into the space - all these unexpectedly introduce mapping errors and produces a non-manifold (not "watertight") object.

Hundreds of poorly scanned domestic interiors have been semi-anonymously converted into incomplete surfaces, afflicted with too little information or impossible geometries that prevent them from being properly understood by machines and rendered into real objects that can exist and be manufactured into the physical world.

In particular, domestic interior spaces can be thought of as “inverted objects”: all of the other objects we experience in the real world have their surfaces on the outside, but the interior domestic space can be thought of as one object in which we experience the surface on the inside.

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The 3D printed prototype can be thought of as being a kind of fossil in reverse. Fossils are turned into fuel, which can be used to produce energy and electricity which has powered our drive for technological innovations and the growth of networks and infrastructure; fossils become the material for the production of plastics which dominate the products we come into contact with on a daily basis today; and geological deposits and fossils serve as physical evidence and traces of lives that have come before us, sparking our imagination of our position within a larger timeline before and beyond human civilisation.

Unable to dig for material remains for clues of the recent human past in my highly urbanised environment, as digital archaeologist I have instead remixed the 3D models of rooms found on creative commons by mixing them with a icosahedron not dissimilar to Meshmixer's icon (an icosahedron) and then plane-cutting them into new forms, like how a lapidarist might cut open a geode. The "geodes" are produced using a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process, which involves using a high powered laser to fuse plastic powders - synthetic polymers of petrochemical origin, which completes its process of becoming a digital fossil.

I excavate the remains of these human spaces, fix the holes in the models, and prepare the 3D data to be sliced for 3D printing. The precisely structured layers within the resulting gcode/geode reveal the split-second shifts in perspective within the domestic space; the fluctuations in data capture which resulted in the imperfect transfer of physical reality into machine-readable 3D data.

This digital fossil forms an inversion of interior into exterior, fossilising a moment in space and time.

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A series of early prototypes by Debbie Ding in collaboration with the content producers listed to the right.



02 Mikeys living room FINAL.mix remixed from
Mikey's living room by Zsofia Valyi-Nagy on October 20, 2014 12:33:42

05 unicorn front room FINAL.mix remixed from
http://www.123dapp.com/catch/unicorn-front-room/4753485 unicorn front room by Kristen Shumway on November 20, 2015 11:06:08

08 bedroom FINAL.mix remixed from
bedroom by Kyla Mulligan on March 15, 2015 00:51:44

10 work room FINAL.mix remixed from
work room by Robert Srensen (416) on January 30, 2013 04:34:50

12 my room FINAL.mix remixed from
my room by 宣平 李 on January 05, 2016 09:37:03

16 living room_FINAL.mix remixed from
living room by Mathieu Veillette on March 29, 2015 23:35:34

18 Room FINAL.mix remixed from
Room by Antonio Zingaro (177) on February 24, 2014 12:53:39

19 my room FINAL.mix remixed from
my room by Roman Teslenko 231 on January 11, 2015 10:20:19

22 Living room FINAL.mix remixed from
Living room test by Lee Simpson 215 on February 11, 2015 08:01:07

25 room FINAL.mix remixed from
room by Farid Taravati on May 31, 2014 12:34:13