Transformation Mask allies the artistic expression of Shawn Hunt, a Vancouver based artist to the possibilities of the Hololens, Microsoft’s wearable augmented reality device.

If bringing cutting edge technologies in his art truly inspired the artist, Microsoft on the other hand was looking for blending Robotics, 3D printing, mixed reality as well as art.

Transformation Mask

The raven, an “ultimate trickster” as they said, “appropriates the traditional aspects of metamorphosis with the transformation from bird mask to human, yet in this adaptation the human mask has been altered, upgraded, and merged with the machine. Incorporating aspects of technology, sound and space, each part of the work reflects Hunt’s interest in how we understand and identify with the term indigenous.”

It all starts with a paper prototype that shows first sketches, then continues with a modelling before having the printed parts (aluminum skeleton).

Paper prototype – Image via Transformation Mask
Modeling: Houdini’s non-destructive workflow enabled changes to the form of the mask on the fly Image via trasformation Mask
Jaw – Image via transformation Mask

As far as its fabrication is concerned, the mask comprises over 20 individually 3D printed PLA and acrylic resin components. Made with its traditional form, the bird-tool does not have any straight lines. Almost 300 hours were required to 3D print the mask.

A number of sensors linked to the skeleton launch the first motion’s phases whereas microcontrollers aim at controlling LEDs and behaviour in a uniform way. The Hololens mixed reality controls all the pieces via a bluetooth connection.

Hunt gives his feeling about Transformation Mask, as an artist this has given me an incredible amount of freedom. I don’t feel that my work is conceptual, traditional, artefact or craft. It is neither ancient nor modern. Instead, I feel as though my work has elements of all of these categories. This is a freedom that allows me to distort, subvert, hijack and remix these categories in order to offer new points of view.

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