Balloon Dog

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Balloon Dog 1 by Rob Myers, model by Bassam Kurdali
Balloon Dog 2 by Rob Myers, model by Bassam Kurdali
Balloon Dog 3 by Rob Myers, model by Bassam Kurdali


by Rob Myers

with introduction by Charlotte Frost

A downloadable freely licensed 3D model of an artwork to print and remix

Marcel Duchamp took an average urinal, signed it with pseudonym, and placed it – or at least tried to place it – in a gallery setting to be viewed as art. In doing this he asked after the origins and essence of what we think of as ‘art’. He was implying that craftsmanship, authorship, objects and context each have their part to play elevating man-made things to artistic proportions. For all his attempts to undermine this validation system, by the 1950s his urinals were indeed viewed as legitimate art and by the 1980s, not-making had become the new making. Rob Myers takes iconic works from the art history of ‘readymades’ and converts them into publicly available source files. In this remake, works are stripped back to the literal and metaphorical code of Duchamp’s initial gesture – but do not be fooled, this is precisely where the ‘makerly’ is remade too, in the careful craftsmanship of modelling and coding these works. But if code itself is too minimalist for you, he has also connected the files with real-world 3D printers, so you can order your own ‘readymade’, readymade, in a variety of materials and finishes.

Balloon Dog forms part of a series of shareable DIY 'readymades' for an era of digital copying and sharing. Iconic objects from the history of appropriation and remixing art are recreated as 3D-digital models. Users can then download and send the digital model to 3D printers via the Internet to receive their own physical artwork through the post at a scale of their choosing.

You can find a review of Shareable Readymades by Mark Hancock here: Disrupting the Continuum.

Balloon Dog - How to

Balloon Dog is a free-as-in-freedom licensed 3D computer model of a balloon animal suitable for 3D printing. You can do what you like with it as long as you maintain attribution ('Model by Bassam Kurdali. Commissioned by Rob Myers') and place any copies or modifications under the same licence. Visit the Creative Commons site for the licence:

You can print Balloon Dog using a 3D printing service such as Shapeways, in which case you'll need to scale it to a size you can afford to print using a 3D modelling package such as Blender and then upload it:

Or you can print it using a 3D printer that you have access to. For low-cost 3D printers such as the MakerBot or RepRap you'll need to take steps to support the model's overhangs, for example using Skeinforge:

Download Balloon Dog here:

As part of the Furtherfield collection commissioned by Arts Council England for Thinking Digital. 2011