Artists Covertly Scanned Bust of Nefertiti With Xbox 360 Kinect to Protest Museum’s Artifact Looting

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Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, an Iraqi/German pair of artists, just pulled off what might be one of the most digitally-enhanced art heists in recent time. They covertly scanned a bust of Nefertiti (with an Xbox 360 Kinect sensor, no less), which currently sits in Berlin’s Neues Museum, and released the 3D printing plans for free online. They did so as an act of defiance, as this particular bust was actually looted from an Egyptian site by German archaeologists. In scanning and releasing the plans, they’ve effectively “de-looted” the bust, placing it back into the hands of the people to whom it belongs.

Al-Badri and Nelles’ first print of the bust now sits in the American University of Cairo. It’s the artists’ hope that this project, called “The Other Nefertiti,” makes museums reassess the collections they have, and how their possession of such artifacts might contribute to a narrative of colonial mentality and history. Basically the artists are asking if it’s right that these museums based in other countries have possession of items that technically belong to other cultures.

This is the debate that surrounds this scanned bust of Nefertiti. The statement these artists deliver with their actions is pretty intriguing, and one that will definitely inspire people to take notice. If you have a 3D printer, you can print your own version of the bust, as well as find an interview with the artists (in German) over on the project’s official page.

(via BoingBoing)

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Jessica Lachenal
Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.