3d-printed Tardigrade


Conceptual artist Douglas Huebler famously declared: "The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more." This dictum never got around to Shapeways, a startup dedicated to filling the world with copious amounts of additional objects... via 3D printing. At Shapeways, kids using phones (or adults using laptops) create cartoony objects, a designer can be hired to help implement the project (some kind of Uber sharing/exploitation situation), and then Shapeways 3D-prints the objects to be sold in its online store.
The above sculpture, which actually looks pretty appealing, at least as a jpeg, is the brainchild of EricHo, working with designer Kostika Spaho. The tardigrade is an internet-fan-adored micro-animal that lives in ponds, eating moss. It looks like a space creature (and is in fact so tough it can live for brief periods in space), a comparison emphasized by the artist's placement of it on a futuristic grey pedestal. The "sandstone" textures of the creature and base, as well as the color choices, have a sensual allure. A viewer from the time before 3D printing would greatly like to see this carved by hand, looking much like this, but several times larger than its actual size (5 x 4 x 3 centimeters). It's an outmoded prejudice of wanting to think of a hand, with tools, patiently cutting and smoothing these particular bizarre shapes.