Artist Turns Obama's State Of The Union Address Into A 3D-Printed Sculpture

In a fascinatingly odd way, the 3D print has created an entirely new method with which it’s possible to analyze rhetoric.

We haven't even come close to realizing the scope of 3D printing. There have been an excess of sculptures, objects, and other installations created with the emerging technology, but now we can turn ephemeral, abstract ideas into tangible pieces. French, digital artist, Gilles Azzaro, is exploring this possibility with his recent venture into 3D printed soundwaves, specifically centering on famous speeches by individuals like President Obama. 

Azzaro’s piece, titled Barack Obama: Next Industrial Revolution, features a 3D-printed visualization of Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union Address, turning peaks in soundwaves into shining plastic. In this particular speech, Obama discusses the revolutionary effect 3D printing could potentially have on US manufacturing. Some have even claimed the format could yield a third Industrial Revolution.

Azzaro with his 3D-printed speech sculpture

Unveiled last week at the 3D Print Show in London, the installation adds another dimension to this 39 second long audio clip, creating a speech that engages its audience on multiple levels.

Even without witnessing Next Industrial Revolution in full effect, the structure itself is impressive. Featuring an over five foot long 3D printed waveform, the dark metallic piece attracts attention, regardless of the audio component. The form took about 350 hours over an eight-month period to finish, and was printed entirely on Azzaro's desktop 3D printer. The sound wave is interestingly (and beautifully) placed on a wooden platform and encased within a glass tube, designed by Patrick Sarran.

There are two ways to activate the interactive installation--the viewer either walks by a motion sensor or presses on a discrete black button labeled “START." A green laser beam then appears and travels down the 3D print, synchronizing all the piece’s components. It’s possible to really see the points at which Obama softens or raises his voice, pauses, or emphasizes a statement. 

In a fascinatingly odd way, the 3D print has created an entirely new method with which it’s possible to analyze rhetoric.

Barack Obama: Next Industrial Revolution is not the first piece of materialized audio that Azzaro has created. The artist has also produced QR-embedded paintings of quotes from an array of cultural and political figures, ranging from Coco Chanel and Marilyn Monroe to JFK, Mahatma Gandhi, and Neil Armstrong.

If you’d like to witness the sheer semantic magic that is Barack Obama: Next Industrial Revolution, Azzaro’s work will be featured at the Paris 3D Print Show (November 15th through 16th) and the New York 3D Print Show (February 13th through 15th, 2014). The artist himself will be in attendance at both of these shows, too. 

Speeches make people immortal. No one will forget Churchill's "Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat" or Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream." Now these monumental dialogues will become literal monuments. It's only a matter of time until they start appearing alongside busts in the most important history museums.