The Fragility of Life
by Simone C Niquille /technoflesh Studio

Year: 2017
Format: HD Video, 3D Animation
Duration: 24 min 16 sec
Audio: Stereo Sound
With the support of the Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship 2016.


Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
— Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, 1855.

The Fragility of Life is a short film following Teresa Barnwell, a Hillary Clinton impersonator, in the final days leading up to the 2016 U.S Presidential Elections. The film is part of The Contents a research project on anthropometric standards embedded in 3d capture and modelling technologies. Used for a wide spectrum of applications, from movie special effects, to forensic investigation, to biometric identification, these technologies define much of how the human body and identity is represented and perceived in digital space. Through film, artefacts and interviews, The Contents challenges parametric constructs of corporeality.

In the short film Teresa Barnwell is 3D scanned and performs irl as well as a 3D avatar. The question of ownership over one's own image is raised. Do you own a 3D scan of yourself? Or does the person that performs the scan own the file? This question is crucial for everyone, but all the more poignant when asked through the file of a (political) impersonator. A 3D scan can be posed, animated and recontextualised endlessly, making a definition of 3D scan ownership to the scanned person, rather than the scanner, all the more important.


Related Writing:

• The Fragility of Life
A conversation with Jara Rocha & Femke Snelting on parametric bodies
R&D Het Nieuwe Instituut, 2017

• SimFactory
On the interwoven history of 3D avatars, ergonomics and efficiency
e-flux Architecture, 2017


• Research, Script & Animation: Simone C Niquille
• Music: Jeff Witscher & Sam Wolk
• Featuring Teresa Barnwell as herself
• 3D Scan: Human-Engine


↑ The Fragility of Life, 3D Scanning Teresa Barnwell at Human Engine

↑ The Fragility of Life, Teresa Barnwell in 3D

↑ The Fragility of Life, Kritios They