The Other Nefertiti, 2015

Nora Al-Badri & Jan Nikolai Nelles

The Other Nefertiti is a 3D-printed replica of the Nefertiti Bust, an ancient Egyptian artifact housed in the Neues Museum in Berlin. The artwork’s creation entailed the release of a high-resolution 3D data file that was shared freely on the internet. The work stands as proof of colonial pillaging and challenges notions of national ownership; it considers the role of copying in preservation and access to evidence in relation to global heritage. The project received wide media coverage for its unauthorized 3D scan of the artifact inside the museum and its public release despite the copyright holder’s exclusive reproduction rights.

The Other Nefertiti embodies archeological evidence and its history of ownership throughout civilizations. The copying of artifacts in physical and digital forms points to the ever-improving technical reproduction of evidence and ways in which authenticity can be discussed openly in online forums, while the sharing and collaborative preservation avoid restrictions and suppression of evidence. The artwork combines the politics and the aura of an unique historic artifact in the age of its reproducibility.

Read Conflicting Evidence by Susanne Leeb.

3D print polymer resin, 20 x 13 x 9 ½ in. 50 x 33 x 24 cm.
Courtesy of the artists and NOME Gallery.

The Other Nefertiti