At Zien we believe much of our lives are spent in the 2.5th Dimension, the non-hierarchy between online and offline, between on-chain vs off-chain. Agnieszka Kurant's Sentimentite acts as an inaugural demonstration of what we mean by this: each of the one hundred Expanded NFTs exist as a ERC-721 NFT that can be redeemed on-chain for a unique counterpart physical sculpture.
The very first Sentimentite sculptures to be redeemed were recently produced and to acknowledge this moment, Zien organised a unique visit to the famous Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen AG foundry in St Gallen, Switzerland, where the sculptures are fabricated.
The group included Agnieszka Kurant (the artist behind Sentimentite), Lukas and Ozan from 1of1.works, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, Marcella Lista (Chief Curator at Centre Pompidou, Paris) and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Director of Castello di Rivoli, Venice). Below we share the key moments from the day, to offer insight into the technologically inventive process that has been designed by Agnieszka Kurant, Zien and the Kunstgiesserei team. We have also put together a digital walkthrough in the Zien Telegram bot, which you can access here: t.me/zienzienbot (send the command /journal after joining).
The Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen AG is a large art production workshop, which produces and restores sculptural artworks on behalf of the world’s leading artists, galleries and museums. Connected to the Sitterwerk Foundation, a non-profit Swiss foundation founded in 2006 for the establishment, expansion and operation of art and culture, which encompasses a museum exhibition hall, artist studios, an art library with over 25,000 volumes on art and architecture, and an archive of materials for makers of art, architects, and designers. The Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen AG has produced artworks for many significant artists, including the sculptural installations from Pierre Huyghe’s site specific project at Documenta 13; Katharina Fritsch’a famed Fourth Plinth cockerel commission in London, UK; as well as large-scale works from Urs Fischer, Martin Creed, Camille Henrot, Xu Zhen, and Robert Indiana (view the full archive of projects).
To best explain the complex production process, we briefly interviewed Sonja Schürpf from the Kunstgiesserei who led the production.
Q. Could you briefly explain the process of fabricating Sentimentite?
We receive the digital data of the redeemed NFT and generate the counterpart physical object via 3D printing. The physical copy is truly accurate to the digital because our 3D-printer has a resolution of 600dpi. This form is then printed in PMMA through binder jetting. Into this mould a two-component polymer gypsum (a composite material formed of gypsum and acrylic resin) is cast. The mould is lined with wax, sprayed with glue and some glitter is applied. Next the 60 materials are crushed through a shredder to obtain similarly sized particles and then mixed with the polymer gypsum. Once the acrylic resin has solidified, the printed PMMA mould is removed. To finish, the cast objects are etched with nitric acid, so that the particles occur evenly on the surface, and are then finally hand finished.
Q. Have you worked with an artwork that is composed of so many materials before?
Q. What was the most difficult material to source?
The turtle shell.
Q. Which material was the hardest to work with?
Definitely the tungsten.
Q. How heavy are the Sentimentite sculptures?
The 25cm sculptures weigh around 4kg, while the 50cm sculptures weigh approximately 26kg.
Q. What makes the Kunstgiesserei special?
We’re very happy to announce that the first three Sentimentite sculptures were handed over to the collectors at the event:
1/100: Mt Gox Hack (Category: Birth of Crypto)
5/100: Ethereum ICO (Category: Birth of Crypto)
14/100: Christie's auction Beeple's 'Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’ (Category: Birth of Web3)
100 seismic historic events, millions of harvested Twitter and Reddit posts, and billions of aggregated human emotions. Sentimentite’s ambition stretches across time and space, resulting in ultra-contemporary digital data organisms that capture our current moment both literally and figuratively. This ambition extends to the material sculpture, which innovates new possibilities in the interconnectedness of NFTs and physical art objects, all in the space of an unprecedented number of materials. To realise a project like this we must work with the best people and facilities in the world, such as Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen AG.