Future Nudes

Roland and I would like to continue our laser project for final. To reiterate our idea – we want to create nude portraits that are Base64 representations of images taken by a web-camera. The ideal viewer is a human-machine hybrid/cyborg that is capable of both decoding etched Base64 and recognizing the human element of the artifact.

As shown in the image above, we began prototyping with laser-etching on cardboard. After our first experimentation, we realized that we want to enhance the monumental aspect of our portrait which will require a material that is sturdier and heavier in weight than paper. We thought about laser-etching on wet clay and then form them into a 3D shape.



Text on clay can be traced back to ancient civilizations, like the Sumerians and Egyptians, who left down inscriptions on clay which survived for thousands of years.

This Akkadian clay tablet, ca.1900–1600 BC, contains a partial version of the ancient Sumerian Legend of Etana. (link to article)

Based on Google’s image search, most people’s perception of “future nudes” consist of robots shaped in a female body with glossy artificial texture.

To re-envision future nudes, we want to abstract the body into a minimalized representation. Referencing studies on swarming, we want to laser-etch our code onto small pieces clay and connect them into one standalone sculpture. We are not settled on the form yet but we are considering designing our shape based on movements of the body.

Fischli und Weiss’ clay sculptures are not necessarily abstract in forms but their study of opposites using the combination of figure and text is definitely a great reference.



Among the research we did on clay, we didn’t find much documentation on laser-etching wet clay. We are not sure if it is actually possible to achieve so we will soon have to begin our experimentation. If the code didn’t come out legible on clay, we will have to come up with an alternative material.

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