3D Masks as a New Armour
Overcome the Void of a Plague – The Art of 3D Production
In times of material shortage for public goods, artists are often the ones who make the difference, using their creativity, their materials and their solidarity.
arthere is an art space in Istanbul, Kadiköy, run by artists who have formed a strong art community. The art centre gathers artists from the Middle East, Turkey and around the world with a management team from Syria, France, and Turkey.
Initially founded by and for Syrian artists with difficulties accessing workspace after leaving their country to settle in Istanbul, arthere is a space for artistic creation, away from war and political rivalries. Hosting all sorts of events such as film screenings, installations, performances, workshops and exhibitions, arthere always looks for news ways of promoting creativity and expression, while serving a good cause.
That is how Omar Berakdar, initiator and member of arthere, decided to get the machines working. It’s been one week now that the “printing farm” (that’s how he calls the five 3D printers that arthere owns) is working without respite to produce two types of protective equipment against Coronavirus:
- The first one, a normal triangular plastic mask where a replaceable tissue or filter fit in. Fixed with rubber bands, it is useful for daily situations and easy to clean with an alcoholic disinfectant spray. This mask can be used for medical purposes and successfully replaces the normal ones which should be thrown away every 6 to 8 hours.
- The second one is a plastic structure supporting a shield for people working in close contact with infected people: in hospitals, supermarkets etc. Those are the “easy ones” that arthere produces the most. They prepare 10 to 20 of them and send them all together to hospitals. They are already in use at hospitals in Bursa and in Gaziantep.
The initiative was set up by a community of 3D printer owners (3BoyutluDestek) that drawn more and more attention lately due to the general shortage in available masks for medical staff. The shield’s designs are available online, practical and easy to assemble.
When there is need, arthere sends the masks to anybody who asks. But that’s not going to last long… The material needed for the 3D printers are rolls of plastic string. Raw material goes into a tube, gets melted and transformed into a plastic shape. But for the moment, Omar and his team only have a filament called PLA, which is inconvenient because it melts or deforms when heated up to 60°C, common practice in hospitals for disinfecting and cleaning purposes. The material that would be needed is PETG.
Since the outbreak of the virus, arthere, as many other places, had to cancel the totality of their program. Being a space for solidarity, for mutual support within the community, making masks was seen as a responsibility. It isn’t only about the masks; it is the position of an art space, an active group of people who want to respond to the crisis.
It is possible to support arthere’s initiative by contributing to the required material: PETG filament.
It can be sent directly to the art space at the following address: Rasimpasa Mh, Beydagi Sk, 3A, Kadiköy, Istanbul.
Or, if more information is needed: Tel. +905380867691 / firstname.lastname@example.org.