Copying Cities: 3D printing Palmyra

Copies of the Temple of Bel’s entrance arch were replicated in London and New York as a symbol of defiance. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images
Copies of the Temple of Bel’s entrance arch were replicated in London and New York as a symbol of defiance. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

I’ve just written an article for The Guardian about modern technology and copying cities. It was inspired by the destruction of the archaeological remains of Palmyra and possibilities that 3D printing bring to potentially recreate monuments and entire cities, but spins out to discuss the Victorian trend for plaster cast copies of Classical statues, how the resurrection of Warsaw after the Second World War was inspired by a nephew of Canaletto, and how Kathmandu might be rebuilt after the 2015 earthquake.

The technology raises difficult questions. What does it mean to copy an ancient monument or building? Can a reproduction ever be as good as the original? Or is “authenticity” less important than symbolism to people who’ve survived death and destruction?

You can read the whole article here.

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