Sophie Kahn

Artist’s Website

My work owes its fragmented aesthetic to the collision of the body with cutting-edge imaging devices. The precise 3D scanner I use was never designed to capture the body, which is always in motion. When confronted with a moving body, it receives conflicting spatial coordinates and fails, generating glitch. I then create 3D printed sculptures and rendered prints and video from the damaged scan data. The finished sculptures appear to be faux-historical forgeries – or contemporary relics.

For my latest series, I scanned dancers as they re-performed the phases of an attack of hysteria - a now-discounted but once prevalent diagnosis, applied almost exclusively to woman and championed by Freud and by Dr Jean-Martin Charcot at the famed Salpêtrière insane asylum in nineteenth-century Paris. Photography was used extensively at the Salpêtrière, and the act of representing patients in extremes was a violent and coercive one. I was drawn to this history due to my own history of disability, and due to my fascination with the absurdity of using technology to attempt to capture and control something as evanescent and elusive as madness. After scanning the performers, I 3D printed and hand- painted their contorted forms. I also created intricate architectural support structures to hold up their struggling, failing bodies - suggesting a monumental female body that is submitting to a process of construction, or perhaps demolition.