Hannah Rose Mendzola
3D Printer and Printing News, June 14, 2014
This story starts out as many museum acquisition controversies do: Western intervention in a society resulted in the removal of culturally valuable artifacts that then become part of a Western museum’s permanent collection. The question then becomes, whether or not there is an obligation (either ethical or legal) to return the artifacts to their place or people of origin. In this particular case, the decision has been made to return to the columns to China where they will reside in the collection of Peking University. However, this is not the end of the struggle to define their ownership.
Now that the columns are destined to be returned, the existence of scanned copies of them is seen by some as yet another attempt to steal them. For Laric though, the point isn’t that exact replicas exist to be appreciated in lieu of the originals, but rather that the very dialog of authenticity be expanded. This is especially necessary, given the advanced 3D scanning and printing technologies available and those yet to come. The very nature of the digital world is one in which copies are continuously produced and the line between piracy, flattery, and imitation is still being defined."