04302011 from Sophie Kahn on Vimeo.

A beautiful series of portraits, created on 3D scanner, looks simultaneously like a digital fragmentation of the face and one of the eerie reconstructions of human faces, as if produced centuries from now. It’s the work of artist Sophie Kahn, on exhibit now at an event in Reno, Nevada. The artist writes:

38 New Yorkers whose portraits I made, using a 3d laser scanner. The result is an identity parade of textured 3d scans of their faces, rotating in and out of the light. The glitchy, fragmented look of these scans results from my misuse of the high-end 3d laser scanner, which was never designed to capture the body.

Via that wonderful herald of indie game journalism, Kill Screen Magazine:
3D heads on display at digital art fest, Colonel Kurtz’s hut

Previously: Projector and Camera, A Little Closer: New, Magical Mapping Tools, 3D Scanning, and More

Sophie writes in comments to explain more about the process and her artistic motivations:

For those of you asking about the question of scanner design: I’ve been using laser scanners of all varieties in my artwork for about ten years now, including LIDAR and structured light. Handheld laser scanners are indeed inferior for capturing the body (as opposed to structured light, which is designed to work in an instant). This particular device I use takes about 3-4 minutes to scan the face, and in that time, when the subject moves or breathes, the scanner ‘sweeps’ come in at different spatial locations, so you get a kind of cubist effect. You also get other errors like occlusion and loss of resolution. I intentionally misuse the scanner further to get a very specific aesthetic effect.
It is possible to correct this data, fill holes etc (and I do this when I am scanning professionally, for sculptors etc.) And of course there are other ways to improve facial scanning, eg by mounting a magnetic locator to the head. But I am not interested in making perfect scans. The bottom line is that for me, the fragmentation and ‘gaps’ that occur are much more poetic and aesthetically interesting than a perfect reproduction of the face. I also spend a lot of time on the sculptural side of the work, 3d printing and casting the scans, and you can see that work on my website.