Björk - Rottlace mask. Instagram @Bjork.

Björk – Rottlace mask. Instagram @Bjork.

Music & Fashion– Before an invitation-only audience at Tokyo’s Miraikan Museum, Icelandic musician Björk performed in a 3D printed mask designed by MIT professor, designer and innovator Neri Oxman and her team Mediated Matter Group. The Rottlace mask was designed by 3D scanning the artist’s face to create digital interpretations of her bone and tissue structure.

Rottlace (2016) designed by the Mediated Matter Group in collaboration with Stratasys Ltd. Photo: Santiago Felipe

Photo: Santiago Felipe.

The Rottlace mask covers Björk’s face and part of her neck. Thanks to Stratasys’ multi-material 3D printing technology, it appears like a complex system of tissues underlining the artists muscoloskeletal system. “The unique capabilities of this technology to recreate complex geometries with varied material properties allowed the mask to retain a unique flexibility and freedom of movement integral to Björk’s performance” says Neri Oxman.

Rottlace (2016) designed by the Mediated Matter Group in collaboration with Stratasys Ltd. Photo: Santiago Felipe

Photo: Santiago Felipe.

Inspired by Björk’s most recent album, Vulnicura, we explored themes associated with self-healing and expressing the face without a skin. Indeed, the Rottlace mask’s name is a variation of the Icelandic word Roðlaus that means skinlesssay at the Mediated Matter Group.


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Visualisations on the human body of the final, selected and refined mask designs. Each mask comprises over 20000 individual fibers with varying material properties in stiffness and translucency.

Visualisations on the human body of the final, selected and refined mask designs. Each mask comprises over 20000 individual fibers with varying material properties in stiffness and translucency.

I am so incredibly blown away by Neri Oxman’s work and excited to finally work with her,” says Björk. “She is a true pioneer in capturing the biological with 3D printing in such a refined and profound way. It’s been a real joy to get to know her!”.

The mask is the first of a family of customised designs that simulates reincarnation of all sorts. They originate as a form of portraiture to reveal a new identity, a reincarnation indeed. Designed by the Mediated Matter Group. Produced by, and in collaboration with, Stratasys Ltd.. Researchers include Christoph Bader, Dominik Kolb, and Prof. Neri Oxman.

Design variations for the Rottlace mask series, employing the generative system to rapidly create variations from which a final design was selected and refined.

Design variations for the Rottlace mask series, employing the generative system to rapidly create variations from which a final design was selected and refined.


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Generative system that procedurally creates a mask and its individual parts. First, the principal curvature directions of the 3D head scan are calculated. Afterwards, the resulting field is modified. Based on the divergence of the modified filed, bone-like support structures are generated that act as the rigid frame for the soft fibers that emerge from them.

Generative system that procedurally creates a mask and its individual parts. First, the principal curvature directions of the 3D head scan are calculated. Afterwards, the resulting field is modified. Based on the divergence of the modified filed, bone-like support structures are generated that act as the rigid frame for the soft fibers that emerge from them.

Photos: courtesy of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group. Below: Family by Björk, Vulnicura Moving Album Cover created in collaboration between Björk and Andrew Thomas Huang.


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