8 June 2016

Dr Shaun Borstrock, Visiting Professor Mark Bloomfield and Pete Brownhill, Principal Technical Office collaborated with Dr Sheena Calvert to produce a 3D printed book that was exhibited in two exhibitions at Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London.

For the Traditional printing processes such as letterpress and later lithographic printing allowed the book to flourish, as those reproduction processes became distributable and more widely accessible. Now, technology enables objects to be created and reproduced through a variety of 3D Printing techniques. These creative freedoms give the opportunity to redefine existing and understood forms; heralding a renaissance in three dimensional design, and (potentially), the ‘book'. However, there is a persistent desire to use these techniques in traditionally understood ways, resulting in printed objects that simply mimic their predecessors without fully responding to the new context.

This 3D Printed book shows how the technology is able to duplicate existing forms but at the same time how it struggles to replicate the qualities of existing materials. This experiment poses questions about what we think of as a printed book, under new conditions of reproduction. What results is not a functional object, but an archetype, symbol, pointer to the concept of ‘book’: a peculiarly ‘entombed’ object; inert, fossilised.

The 3D data file that describes this object can be easily distributed, the text changed and new content added but in order for 3D Printing technology to rewrite the book, the very essence of ‘book’ needs to be re-imagined, re-engineered and re-written.