Who is really the scanner? What does it mean to build something? Where do you take from and where do you take it to? When does something become unique?  Which matters more?

How I choose to answer these questions in regards to my Blue Rabbit Project, creating a digital library of the assets from The Evergreen State College Natural History Museum, has left me digging deep.

The idea of 3D printing a skull I scan leaves much left yearning in my personal goals, having taken something that was one alive and using it’s remains to perpetuate it’s life implicates even more.

If I use the scan as a reference to draw a rendition of the animal’s exact genus and species won’t I be using something with it’s own unique qualities as well? Where does the individual of an entire group begin to represent similar enough qualities to represent the entirety of the whole group? Are the marks and blemishes that befall the item in it’s life or even after death change what it is, out side of the vantage of quality, and if these models that are created from scans have the ability to be restored and improved doesn’t that change the value of quality?

I selected my project to challenge what it means to create, if our references act as crutches and stairways to new ideas, the idea of creating entire reference libraries that can be re-transformed into pristine samples would mean to create better gateways to new thoughts. The physical task of scanning items is not difficult but the idea of creating from those samples leaves endless possibilities. New communities could begin to form around the idea of up-keeping and updating what can be used as tools in countless fields of study(ecology, art, biology just to name some). My goal is to create something that extends beyond myself and will be a project that is continued with or without me. Anyone could take the existing models from the library and transform it. From anything like an entirely new species to an even more improved representation of reality.  Each iteration could be added back into the library allowing for individuals to become informed as well as inform others of their works.

"Economies of scale drive down the consumer price of mass-produced products and increase profits for a company. However,
 to earn back the upfront investments in design and production, companies must sell large volumes of the same product. 
Only after a significant number of identical products are sold does a company begin to profit from its initial investment."(Lipson, Kurman, 2013, 26)

Instead of having to focus on producing only one item in order to make a return we can have open source an entire library of items acts outside the commercial market. With the free
exchange of ideas and new models that could be printed for next to nothing and specialized to each individual, tailored to their specific demands with no need for over production. These ideas hit home for me because of the focus on suitability in the actions taken and is in opposition of the current global economic environment.  I chose to awnser the questions we have repeated, “Why produce in a world physical objects in a world over-saturated already…?” with the chose to not produce anything physical. Rather I pursued the chose to create digital objects of items that are in general restrictive in access because of their physical qualities.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History states on their 3D Collection website that ” the purpose of this collection is to allow you to view your favorite objects from our David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins or to examine many of the primate and other animal skeletons housed in our museum’s collections. All of the virtual objects on display were either CT or laser scanned. The scanning process enabled us to generate 3D models of each object that you can view, rotate, and interact with online.” The tools used by this organization are professional standard and the creation of the scans were done under the supervision of  PHD’s and other credentialed staffers. Although I do not have the same tools, skills or facilities I do have the drive to create something a little more open than the Smithsonian. I was not able to download any models from the website or interact with them outside of the site itself, but I found that the catalog system was very intricate and that there was lot of pertinent information about what I was interacting with.  I will use this national museums model in my creation of the digital catalog with the added ability to have moderator approved uploads and the ability to download models open to students.

Watching the class interact with the 3D scanner this quarter reminds me of how excited I was when I first started using this technology this summer but also  clues me in on how much people enjoy recreating the physical world virtually.  Our generation currently and to come will have a greater appreciation of what is virtual and what is not, in both value and understanding. As we create reality virtually what reality do we encapsulate? Where is decay on our digital screens, as our users die but their files remain unscathed what will truly be seen as our lasting legacy. If others can amend reality posthumously won’t we always be remembered better down the line?

At this time I have gotten the program “Skanect” installed onto the computers inside the Natural History Museum at Evergreen. This Wednesday I will attempt to use the schools resources and $0.00 to produce the ‘skeleton’ of what is to become our 3D collection at The Evergreen State College Natural History Museum. Yes I did not create the taxidermy-ed and preserved items at the library but I will add to their longevity.  I will be giving myself the ability to have new references for future 3D modeling projects and a more through appreciate of the biological and ecological differences between species as I get to handle rare items.

“Abbott’s Gray Gibbon, Indonesia (USNM 142172).” Human Evolution by The Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.

Lipson, H., & Kurman, M. (2013). Fabricated : The New World of 3D Printing (1st ed..). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/evergreen/reader.action?docID=10657814

Chandler, A. D., & Hikino, T. (1994). Scale and Scope : The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Harvard University Press. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/evergreen/reader.action?docID=10331338