© 2019 by Steve Totin

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POLTERGEIST.stl

two videos both duration: 00:06:00, 2 24 inch TVs, 1 40 inch TV, live motion tracking coding software, 3D printed disabled AR-15 assault rifle lower receivers, ink drawings, secret stash picture frames, gun case foam, store display case,

2018

POLTERGEIST.stl is a multifaceted project concerned with the culture of fear as it relates to gun culture, specifically in the US, and the proliferation of that fear by the media and the Internet. A sub-culture of gun enthusiasts on the Internet are pioneering the ease and accessibility of making home made guns, specifically AR-15 Assault rifles, known as Ghost Guns.

 

Ghost Gun: a gun that is ephemeral, that doesn't exist in any form that can be traced or observed unless its owner chooses to reveal its existence through legal serialization and registration. Ghost Guns come into existence through homemade DIY construction.

 

At the center of the Ghost Gun culture is a crucial part of the gun, the lower receiver, which, in the eyes of the government, is the heart of the gun. It acts as the frame and allows all of the other parts to be held together. To buy a lower receiver by itself one needs to go through a background check, but all of the other parts may simply be purchased without one. Making your own lower receiver at home is a way to navigate around the background check system, and with technological advances in 3D printing and tabletop CNC mills anyone can make them.

 

Cody Wilson, a self-proclaimed crypto-anarchist, created a 3D model file of a functioning lower receiver that may be 3D printed with ease. He was freely distributing the file on his website until the government stopped him, but it was too late, like any digital file shared on the Internet, his 3D model exists and proliferates indefinitely. Cody’s file ended up on the crypto file-sharing website, PirateBay where it has sparked an entire community of gun enthusiasts to make modifications to the file and continue its proliferation under the name FOSSCAD: Free Open Source Software and Computer Aided Design.

 

Through my research for POLTERGEIST.stl I have become interested in the two avenues of fear that drive gun culture and particularly this DIY homemade gun community; the fear of protecting oneself or family from an attacker, and the fear of the government taking away all guns. I am also particularly interested in the concrete and abstract correlations between the term Ghost Gun and concepts and ideas on visibility and invisibility as they pertain to concealment, camouflage, digital files, chroma keying, PirateBay, and death.

 

I have sought out and downloaded the multiple files of the AR-15 lower receivers that exist on PirateBay and have been going through them and altering them with 3D modeling software. The alterations to them with images, text, and forms resembling digital glitches and tumors change the part enough to disable it as a gun part and instead makes it a “new” type of readymade sculpture, in this case the readymade sculpture is a 3D model file instead of a manufactured object. The disabled versions of the lower receiver 3D files are renamed in a way to disguise them as the existing functional models and are re-uploaded to PirateBay in mass quantities.

 

My efforts in doing this is to disrupt the circulation of the original working models while also exploring a new form of sculpture distribution through open source file sharing and 3D printing. Essentially anyone has access to obtain my sculptures for free by downloading them from PirateBay and printing the sculptures themselves.

Press about the project:

https://www.newportri.com/news/20181201/fear-and-coding-on-view-at-hunter-gallery​

 

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