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Death Masks From MIT Capture Your Dying Breath

Death Masks From MIT Capture Your Dying Breath
Death Masks From MIT Capture Your Dying Breath, Courtesy of MIT Media Lab
Courtesy of MIT Media Lab

In the ancient world, traditional death masks were believed to strengthen and protect the soul of the dead as they progressed to the afterlife. It was this mythical notion of transition from death to new life that inspired Vespers, a collection of death masks from Neri Oxman and her team at MIT’s Mediated Matter Group.

Courtesy of MIT Media Lab Courtesy of MIT Media Lab Courtesy of MIT Media Lab Courtesy of MIT Media Lab + 40

Courtesy of MIT Media Lab
Courtesy of MIT Media Lab

Death masks were traditionally made of a single plaster modeled to the deceased’s facial features. Created as part of Stratasys’s New Ancient collection debuting in the London Design Museum this November, Vespers’ 3D-printed masks are built using spatial mapping algorithms that generate colored internal strands enveloped by transparent curved volumes. Rather than memorializing the dead, these masks are designed with an emphasis on cultural heritage, reimagining the potential utility through high-end technologies such as high-resolution material modeling, multi-material 3D printing, and synthetic biology.

Courtesy of MIT Media Lab
Courtesy of MIT Media Lab

Vespers consists of three series of five masks each. The first series, Lazarus, combines a model of the wearer’s visage with an enclosure to contain their last breath. The material composition is designated by the air flow and distribution of this breath. The design is data-driven, digitally generated, and additively manufactured; the design team thus wanted to express the contemporary technological spirit in their version of these ancient artifacts.

Courtesy of MIT Media Lab
Courtesy of MIT Media Lab

News via: Mediated Matter Group

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About this author
Cite: Alyssa Wu. "Death Masks From MIT Capture Your Dying Breath" 04 Dec 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/800176/death-masks-from-mit-capture-your-dying-breath/> ISSN 0719-8884
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