“To be one at all, you must be a many. We need to take seriously the acquisition of emotional, intellectual, material skills to destabilize our own stories to re-tell them with other stories and vice-versa."
Selfmaking: Layers of Becoming With is a 3d printed sandstone sculpture of a hybrid character, created by fusing two powerful and historically influential figures; Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great and Pericles of ancient Greek. The digital models used to form this piece were obtained from the British Museum’s archives, where the ‘original’ sculptures live today.
Selfmaking acts as a signifier without an excessive concern for realism, focusing on how creation, circulation and preservation of cultural information underlies geographical contexts, patterns of displacement, and statelessness. It reflects on how individual narrative and collective memory are shaped through cultural property, cultural currency, and their inherent symbolic meanings.
Using two significant identities as a metaphor with an ‘enough’ visual legitimacy and an aura of authenticity, Selfmaking manifests a self-portrait that no longer shows a self, but instead, different representations derived from cultural code — an infinite creation of hybridity everywhere, all the time. The piece proposes a reflection on transcendence of the body into digital space and how that alters the role of identity within shifting environments and localities.
This post-digital-historical artifact can be understood as a display of plurality, representation of new origins emerging from their archival ancestors, and an optimistic re-evaluation of future archaeological remains. Sandstone, a delicate and fragile material, was chosen as the substrate for this 3d printed object, to emphasize the ephemerality, mutability and temporality. In addition, a two-channel audio was created as a guide, by feeding the official descriptions for the original objects from the British Museum into OpenAI’s language model called GPT-2. This artificial intelligence generated audio guide allows the piece to state its presence in an augmented way that intensifies its unrealness and makes a further commentary on creating a counter narrative for future material objects of culture.