Spring 2013 21
the visual “information” of a person.
In fact, the idea behind The Open
Crowd Project began with Harper’s
interest in the ways in which human
beings have shared information
throughout history. He read the book
by James Gleick,
which details the history of how human
beings share and transfer information
through writing, engineering,
biology, technology, and various other
mediums. Harper became fascinated
with the idea that a three-dimensional
form could be shared via the Internet in
much the same way that we can share
digital images and text.
Basically he could create a complete
D replica of an individual from only a
series of photographs, capturing that
person’s unique likeness in plastic.
I liked the idea that this way of
encoding and transferring information
could manifest into an object,” he said.
And with those objects gathered
together, he realized he could connect a
diverse crowd of real people and expand
his project to the world.
It’s the opportunity to stand next to
somebody you’ve never stood next to
before,” he said.
Harper began scanning people for
prints in 2012. By the end of 2013 he’s
hoping to have about 350 prints in the
crowd. He has about 50 models so far,
and he displayed his progress in the
Barr Gallery on campus during the fall
IU Southeast visitors to the gallery will
find a few familiar faces mixed in with
the crowd as Harper’s earliest models
were some of his students and fellow
But also sprinkled in are people from
across the country and the world who
have submitted their photographs to
Harper through his website,
I’d like there to be geographic
diversity,” Harper said. “It still needs
to gain a little more traction. Most
of the people who are featured are
from the region but there are some
from Canada, Washington, New York,
Mississippi, and Virginia.”
Anyone is welcome to submit
photographs to become a face in the
crowd. The beauty of such a project is
its ability to be interactive. All one has
to do is visit the website and submit
photographs according to Harper’s
Eventually, Harper wants to make
the process a little more user-friendly.
There’s even a smart phone app that
gives users the ability to scan any 3D
D prints of various strangers sit together on a shelf as part of The Open Crowd Project.
A 3D print made of plastic filament is created in Harper’s studio.