The Other Nefertiti

Description (in English)

The artists (claim) to have entered the Neues Museum Berlin and 3D scanned the displayed Nefertiti bust with a "portable scanner - a hacked Kinect". The 3D model was then released during Chaos Computer Congress 32C3. Several remixes was made out of the model. The artists created a 3D print of the bust and brought it to Egypt, hence, Nefertiti was shown for the first time in Egypt. Also a staged setup with burying the bust in the sand was documented as an action of revered excavation and also stating the a plausible situation where a second replica of Nefertitis bust could have been found: "The burial points towards this futurity. The artefact is going to be de- livered to the desert as an Utopos. The bust is passed on to a bigger temporality as a poetic counter-act to the excavation."(1)

This Nefertiti hack is positioned as an critical approach to the fact that cultural heritage in form of cultural objects are often in possession of institutions of the "Global North":

"As a counter intervention to imperial cleptomaniac continuities in European museums, we scanned the head of Nefertiti clandestinely in the Neues Museum Berlin without the permission of the Museum by using a portable scanner - a hacked Kinect." (2)

It remains open if the Nefertiti hack was actually scanned by the artists or perhaps a scan made by the museum and leaked to the artists: "Although the artists originally stated that they had gone into the museum and guerrilla scanned the Nefertiti bust using a hidden Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor, in reality they were likely involved in a double-blind hack. As Geismar concludes, it appears that an inside (wo)man with access to the museum’s 3D data released the scan to the artists."(3)

Nevertheless, the action prompted discussion of returning looted and illegally exported objects of cultural heritage like the bust of Nefertiti.


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