VIrtual Conference - TechFocus IV: Caring for 3D-printed Art

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Monday, 25 October, 2021 to Friday, 29 October, 2021

Save the dates: October 25, 27 & 29, 2021
Virtual conference, 12-3 PM EST

3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing, is being utilized by architects, designers, artists, and consumers, and is becoming increasingly common and technically sophisticated. In short, it describes the process of creating a three-dimensional object via computer-aided design (CAD) programs and digital files, printing it using a range of materials from plastic to metal more conventionally, to all kinds of experimental materials like chocolate or shrimp shells. Originated as a technology to rapidly produce prototypes, 3D-printed artworks are now progressively entering collections. While long-term condition prognosis still awaits discovery, some printing materials are known to quickly yellow and degrade. At the same time, the inherent reproducibility of the technology challenges us to rethink appropriate preservation measures for cases where the boundaries of what constitutes the "original object" may not be as clearly defined.

The goal of the program is to address caretakers and creators alike and help them understand these objects' technology, risks, and requirements. In this way, the conference will serve as a platform to develop guidelines within the community towards the long-term stewardship of both the printed object and accompanying digital files necessary if reprinting becomes a viable option.

TechFocus IV will be held virtually on October 25, 27 & 29th at 12 PM EST. Speakers and additional program information, as well as registration, will be available in late spring 2021.

This program is being made possible by the generous support of Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

About TechFocus
The TechFocus workshop series is organized by AIC's Electronic Media Group to provide detailed technical education in the preservation of media art. Launched on the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking TechArchaeology symposium that was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2000, TechFocus offers in-depth instruction in a broad range of media. Each workshop, hosted by a different institution, is dedicated to one specific media-art technology. A systematic lecture program, delivered by international experts, introduces workshop participants to the technology behind these artworks, and offers real-world guidelines for their preservation.

The TechFocus website offers videos of presentations made at past workshops. Please visit