Last October, a pair of German artists covertly scanned the bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin's Neues Museum and released the collected dataset online, causing a wave of controversy in the art world over the idea of ownership. The device allegedly used to scan the priceless piece of art? An Xbox 360 Kinect.
Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, the two artists responsible for scanning the priceless bust, feel its rightful home is in Cairo. Using the data collected, they recreated the work and used a 3D printer to make a copy now known as The Other Nefertiti, which currently resides in the American University of Cairo.
The video below shows Al-Badri discreetly carrying the Kinect sensor behind a scarf. The scanning was done without the Neues Museum’s permission, which closely guards the bust and refuses to share its own scan data of the prized piece of art.
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Since the data’s release, however, some have called the authenticity of the scanning into question. A Kinect scanner requires an outside power source, and scanning through glass presents a major problem as it distorts incoming light. Some have suggested that the data of the bust was actually leaked to
the artists by a museum insider, and the Kinect story was fabricated in order
to protect the source’s identity.
Whatever the case, it’s nice to see a controversy surrounding the Kinect that isn’t about its alleged lack of functionality.