Make and Take is a public art piece commissioned by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. It located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston in Chinatown Park (next to the modern red gate at Essex Street). The piece will be in place for the entirety of the Year of the Rooster (January 28, 2017 to February 16, 2018).
Make and Take is a joyful celebration of creation that is meant to spark discussion about how things were, are, and can be made.
The centerpiece of Make and Take is a 3D printer, perched on a glowing and translucent white acrylic box. Within the enclosure of the installation, which is reminiscent of both a vending machine and a museum case, plastic filament is algorithmically and mechanically composed into a rooster figurine. Each figurine is then knocked off its perch to an accessible bin where passersby are free to take the figurine. Over the course of the year over 2017 rooster figurines will be produced and given away for free.
The work speaks to the democratization of manufacturing. With technologies like the 3D printer used for Make and Take, individuals can now produce objects once made exclusively by wealthy enterprises. Make and Take shines a light on how accessible technologies make it possible for everyone to design and realize their ideas with significantly fewer resources. In encountering Make and Take, the public is invited to view a marvel of modern technology: the ability to ‘print’ physical objects. The 3D printer, while remaining to be a curiosity, can be purchased for the cost of a laptop. It is on its way to democratizing manufacturing and fabrication just as the computer and the Internet have democratized information.
The 3D-printed rooster – dispensed for free by the installation - was adapted from 3D scanning a porcelain artifact from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The original object belongs to a class of objects catalogued as “China for Export,” which denotes a class of porcelain created in China by Chinese artisans specifically for export to Europe and the Americas. The Chinese artisan(s) behind the porcelain is unknown, but now – through digital scanning and 3D printing – their work is shared with the world.