somerset house, v1

Day 7: Playing with Scale

It’s a bit odd having a set of 3D prints of objects whose printed sizes don’t scale with reality. I mean where the biggest 3D prints aren’t the biggest actual objects. In fact, our House post is actually the tallest thing in reality, but it’s almost the smallest print. I’d also thought from the beginning that it would just be funny to print the Colossal Foot double the size of everything else just because it was called colossal. Turns out it’s the shortest thing in reality.

That led us to thinking about scale today, as our object of focus was the foot.

Tom found a fantastic augmented reality app called Augment, which I loaded on to my iPad. Online, you can configure a “tracker” image that your iPad will recognize easily and connect it with a 3D model. You can also specify the 3D model’s actual dimensions, so that’s what we did with the Colossal Foot, and now, at the eleventh hour, we’re popping in the House post, which is 2.5 metres tall.

Here’s the (garish) tracker image being found…

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And some screenshots of what turns up…

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And a funny video of Tom and I getting stuff running for the first time. What a pair of giggling dummies!

In the end, it was quite a simple and visceral experience, a really nice way to get a feel for the size of the thing if you weren’t able to visit the museum.

somerset house, v1

Day 7: Colossal feet

We’ve discovered there are lots of colossal feet in the British Museum collection. Mac and I were wondering why people collected these colossal feet, rather than other parts of the body. Is it that they are instantly recognisable? More interesting to look it? The touch point?

Eighteenth-century collectors would collect limbs as curiosities. One of the most famous sets is the Colossus of Emperor Constantine at the Palazzo dei Conservatori (Capitoline Museum) in Rome. There’s a colossal head, right hand, and foot of a seated statue.

By user:Lalupa (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By user:Lalupa (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Felix was reminded of Cassius’s speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Act 1, Scene 2), describing Caesar’s tyrannical nature

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.


And while we’re on the subject of colossus, we shouldn’t forget to mention the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Maarten van Heemskerck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Maarten van Heemskerck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

somerset house, v1

Day 7: and so it begins

I must admit to a slight fatigue at this point. But, along with that comes real and new enjoyment at the challenge of finding and illustrating a new story or thing each day.

Yesterday, as Harriet and I were chatting to a couple of visitors all the way from Suffolk, it dawned on me just how much our actual output has been governed by both the semi-random set of objects we selected to print, and the shape of the room and tables. The whole short practice has sprung from those two things. It’s interesting too, to note that the explorations themselves have gravitated towards the history of the British Museum’s collection itself, and not especially features of the objects. That’s a growing area of personal research interest on my part; how big museums have come to be, and the characters who formed them. Henry Salt, from Day 6, exemplifies the kinds of slightly shadow-y figures behind these incredible collections.

Bye bye, Henry Salt.


Hello, Colossal Foot.