A 3D printer between Nefertiti and the future

02.09.2016

A cabinet with several 3D-prints

Interview with Christian Lölkes

Christian Lölkes is 26 years young, studied electrical engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, set up a business alongside his studies and worked as a research assistant at ZKM | Center for Art and Media. Lisa Merkel spoke with him.

Wherever Christian Lölkes contributes to a project, something exciting happens. He can be exhibiting 3D-printed artwork in Graz in Austria, or giving an expert interview on the latest printing methods at the Hamburg Chaos Computer Congress – or even designing the green light-up trophies for the winners of prizes at the recent AppArtAwards 2016 at ZKM where he holds a research assistant position.

Four 3D-Printer with people in front of them watching
3D-Lab in the exhibition »dataspheres«, September 2016, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
© ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Photo: Jonas Zilius

From the very beginning, 3D printing technology has enabled a whole new approach to the possibilities for using space and materials. “I want to go one step further: Every printed item should be carefully thought through in order to print in an environmentally conscious, sustainable way,” says Christian Lölkes. “The average person should think about the necessity of every single print.”

In the 3D laboratory at ZKM, Christian Lölkes prints everything from artwork mounts and 3D scans to replacement parts which can sometimes be more expensive and take longer to arrive on site when bought through regular trading routes. “What I like about the work at ZKM is the change of perspective, achieving a set goal with your work is very important here, whilst at university on the other hand, you carry out very open-ended research – here, a result is a result. Understanding both sides of this and working with both artists and researchers is something I find really inspiring. You should always think more outside the box.”

A 3D-printer
3D-Lab in the exhibition »dataspheres«, September 2016, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
© ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Photo: Jonas Zilius
A cabinet with several 3D-prints
3-D Lab in »dataspheres«, ZKM 2016
Foto © ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Foto: Jonas Zilius

In 2015, Christian Lölkes exhibited five artworks at the “Scanned World” exhibition by ZKM Director Peter Weibel at the Artelier Contemporary gallery in Graz, Austria. Christian Lölkes on Peter Weibel: “He sees new technology and processes and immediately challenges them, even in art. The status quo is not enough; it must be enhanced.”

If you would like to know how to use 3D print data to print, for example, a work of art like Nefertiti, you can find out here and see a time lapse of the 3D printed Nefertiti.

A cabinet with a 3D-print of Nofretete
3D-Lab in the exhibition »dataspheres«, September 2016, ZKM | Center for Art and Media
© ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Photo: Jonas Zilius

For 3D printing enthusiasts and people who suddenly realize that there is something they urgently need, Christian Lölke’s start-up company “Proto3” is a great place to look. Here he discusses individual requests and accepts orders. (www.proto3.de)

YouTube interview from 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipyuqi3M9wQ