Play it Again SAM

Team: Dr. Alex Zivanovic (Engineering and Robotics, Middlesex University), Douglas Dodds (V&A Curator), Jana Scholze (V&A Curator of Contemporary Furniture and Product Design), Mona Hess (PhD UCL, Photogrammetry, 3D Imaging and Metrology Research Centre)

Play it Again SAM is one of the four projects awarded funding following the Sandpit Event on February 27th 2013. The project will investigate issues of authenticity of historic objects and the relationship between original and reproduction(s), in particular digital reproduction, by making a reproduction of a kinetic interactive work. The project will use SAM (Sound Activated Mobile), by Edward Ihnatowicz (1968), as an exemplar by 3D scanning the existing artefact, constructing a 3D virtual model and validating the model by 3D printing the constituent parts. In addition, an installation will be implemented which will display a virtual reality model of SAM (on screen) that will respond to sounds around it, to illustrate the behaviour of the original.

The project will aim to develop an understanding of the relationship between the original and the digital reproduction, and its relevance for preserving the integrity of the original object. The outcomes of the project will allow the original artefact to be displayed next to a 1:1 (non-functioning) replica, alongside a virtual implementation displaying the interactive behaviour of the original.
The process of documenting the various steps of reproduction offers an opportunity to analyse (and speculate about) typologies of potential exhibits of original and/or reproduction(s), their relationships to each other as well as their aptitude to communicate and interact with an audience. This research would also touch upon issues of collecting and conserving.