French artist Julien Maire has created a cinematic experience which marries 3D printed materials with old-school animation techniques. For «Relief», his exhibition created as part of his FabLab digital manufacturing residency at the iMAL Center for Digital Cultures and Technology in Brussels, Maire used 85 stereolithographic figurines on a mechanized projector system to mimic an old film reel from the early 20th century. The result is a "film without film," an animation that uses the principles of light and speed to create the illusion of a motion picture.
The 85 miniature men show different stages of digging a hole. Crafted from a semi-transparent liquid resin that allows light to be projected, the result is a shadowy moving image blasted onto a floor-to-ceiling canvas. The projector creates a square in the center of the canvas with blurry, faded out edges, with the shoveling figure in the center. Several feet in front of the canvas, the re-imagined film reel blasts light through the series of figurines rolling past.
This project can be viewed as both a beautiful object, the recreation of the film reel, as well as the film itself being a separate piece of work. Maire’s project rethinks the fundamentals of how to define and create a “film”: using the old-fashioned techniques of a film reel with new technologies of 3D printing, he bridges a time frame of media archeology to a contemporary perspective that uses current technologies.
Maire graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Metz, France and over the past decade he has worked within the realm of performance, media and installations, with strong interests in new technologies. According to iMAL’s press release, the inspiration for this project derives from some confusion over the term "3D cinema". “In French, "3D cinema" was also called "relief cinema”… The term went out of style when we were forced to admit that "relief cinema" didn't exist. "Relief" evokes materiality, while "3D" is commonly understood as a mathematical and computational concept.” In this project, Maire plays an ode to these older semantics, where he is creates a film using relieved 3D models.
While Maire and iMAL have yet to release the film online, below, check out some stunning stills of his process and projector in action: