Search S

Laboratory for 3D

Mediated Matter is a research project run by the Schools of Visual Arts. Launched in early 2014, it will extend across a three-year period. Mediated Matter is the foundation for the Laboratory for 3D

The objective is to provide new insights and perspectives that can be translated into contemporary art practices. At this point in time, 3D technology has primarily been used and developed by animators, architects, engineers and designers. The Mediated Matter project uses 3D technology to develop new tools and methods for artists, thereby challenging the way we look at concepts such as image, sculpture, object, time and space. The project also explores how 3D technology can renegotiate the boundaries between virtual/digital and physical space.

The Mediated Matter project aims to push back the boundaries of 3D technology. The main emphasis is placed on exploration rather than on the technology itself; for example, participants are very welcome to use the 3D printers in ways that would usually be considered ‘wrong’. With this approach the project can help broaden the scope of our ideas about what 3D technology is and can do. It will also help pull the academy further into the future.

Karen Harsbo

Associate Professor



+45 3374 4641

Lektor og leder af Laboratoriet for Konstruktion Franco Turchi

Franco Turchi

Associate Professor



+45 3374 4660


This research project is based on real-life practices, but at the same time it takes place within a highly experiment-oriented interdisciplinary setting. Participants create objects and pictures by means of radical explorations of various 3D technologies: 3D modelling software, 3D scanning, 3D printing or milling in a range of different materials, and 3D animation technology.

3D prints can be made in a wide range of different materials, and more are added regularly as the technology evolves. At present the laboratory has the equipment to create 3D prints clay, porcelain and plastic. Machines capable of 3D printing using filaments of bronze, wood (80%), metal and rubber are coming soon, and in principle any material could be powdered, pelleted and/or made into filaments for 3D printing.

This also means that 3D printing can support sustainable production, and that it offers opportunities for experimenting with combining materials in entirely new ways.


The first stage of the project took place in 2014. Here, the main emphasis was placed on object-oriented research – on sculpting and producing objects on the basis of digitally created or scanned images. This involved experimenting with 3D scanning and 3D printing using a wide range of materials.The work included building a database about the project. This database is available to everyone, which makes it easy to share and disseminate information and insights about software and hardware used in artistic contexts.
Stage 1 was co-ordinated by assistant professor Karen Harsbo and assistant professor Franco Turchi.

The second stage, which takes place throughout 2015, focuses on live animation and avatar technology. The objective is to experiment with space and time, narration, figures and various types of agents and interaction. We are directly involved in the development of new Motion-Capture technologies and also work with 3D sketching, modelling and rendering software, 3D cameras and 3D glasses.Professor Katya Sander is in charge of co-ordinating stage 2.

Funding for the third stage is not yet in place, but the work is scheduled for 2016. The third stage takes its starting point in the idea of the model and the diagram. The objective is to raise questions about drawing and modelling and how it transforms ideas/theories into tangible practices, as well as to address how graphic art can benefit from 3D technology as a means of expression and reflection. Professor Thomas Locher will co-ordinate this stage.


The results of this research will be documented and presented visually and in writing. The methods and results yielded through the processes will be presented in an exhibition held at Kunsthal Charlottenborg and on a project website that will include a wiki. The exhibition will not focus exclusively on finished works of art; it will also present inspirational materials that can serve as the basis for further experiments, research and discussion.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an online publication, and the discursive results will be published online throughout all stages of the project:

A final paper discussing aspects of 3D-oriented artistic practices will form part of the exhibition materials. One or two seminars will be arranged during stages one and two.  


  • Professor Martin Erik Andersen, chairman and project manager
  • Professor Katya Sander, coordinator, stage 2.
  • Professor Thomas Locher, coordinator, stage 3.
  • Assistant professor Karen Harsbo, coordinator, stage 1.
  • Assistant professor Franco Turchi, co-coordinator, stage 1.
  • Post Doc, PhD Lise Skytte Jacobsen, Aarhus University, co-coordinator – research seminars


  • Anders Hermund, architect MAA, PhD, associate professor at KADK
  • Rene Schmidt, artist
  • Jonathan Keep, artist, independent researcher, UK
  • Anne Friis, architect MAA
  • Per Kapper, Kapper Creations


Project manager, professor Martin Erik Andersen:
Artistic thinking and approaches are being fundamentally challenged by digital developments. It is virtually impossible to overrate the importance of ensuring that the artistic processes that precede the work are also invested in the digital realm. 
Digital materiality is one of the fundamental conditions governing our sociality, and as always art must explore the boundaries of the human condition, making it more complex, nuanced and elastic. Only thus can we move into the future without losing ourselves.
Associate professor Karen Harsbo, coordinator for stage 1:
Mediated Matter has demonstrated the potential for incorporating digital print in a wide range of art practices, including sculpture, installation, performance and animation. The first stage focused on experiments with form and matter, architecture and memory. There has been great interest in exploring the new opportunities offered by 3D technology, and we have created an active community where everyone shares their knowledge and skills.
Professor Katya Sander, coordinator, stage 2:
Exploring the human condition as it appears right now has always been a fundamental aspect of “contemporary art”. 
The concept of “contemporaneity” is about not creating art for the sake of posterity, history and immortality, but for the present: an exploration of the here and now.
Today we are seeing extremely rapid development of Virtual Reality technologies; technologies that will fundamentally affect and change our concept of “now”, of “here” and what it means to be “present”. 
The contemporary art scene must take part in exploring this field and all the challenges it represents, and we must do so based on our specific profession’s insights and expertise – without being shackled by various predefined user interfaces.