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The Cardboard Gandhi, by Joseph DeLappe

Cardboard Gandhi by Joseph DeLappe

  • Title: The Cardboard Gandhi
  • Size: 17' (figure), 19' (figure + pedestal)
  • Materials: recycled cardboard and hot glue
  • Construction Time: 2 people, 16 hours
  • Cost: $200 for recycled cardboard
  • Method: DeLappe used a shareware application, Pepakura Designer to model a Second Life avatar into a 3-D image (see the Notes below for a list of 3-D modeling software products available at the libaries).1 The original concept, design, and execution required six weeks.

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Statement from the Artist

In 2008, from March 12th to April 6th, over the course of 26 days, using a treadmill customized for cyberspace, I reenacted Mahatma Gandhi's famous 1930 Salt March in Second Life. The original 240-mile walk was made in protest of the British salt tax; my update of this seminal protest march took place at Eyebeam, NYC and in Second Life, the Internet-based virtual world. For this mixed-reality performative reenactment, I walked the entire 240 miles of the original march both in "real life" and "Second Life". My steps on the treadmill controlled the forward movement of my avatar, MGandhi Chakrabarti, enabling the live and virtual reenactment of the march.

Over the course of the reenactment I became very attached to my avatar. I began to envision the creation of a monumental sized Gandhi figure based on my avatar data. I settled upon using a shareware application, Pepakura Designer, which is a popular papercraft program used by enthusiasts to create some rather amazing—albeit generally tabletop scale—reproductions of everything from anime figures to airplanes. I adapted this program to create a 17' tall reproduction of my Gandhi avatar out of cardboard and hot glue. The resulting 17' figure is a monumental physical representation of MGandhi created from very simple materials. The figure was made to be the same height as Michelangelo's David—a fitting conceptual connection to this iconic work of art history depicting the Biblical figure of David just before slaying Goliath.

~Joseph DeLappe

DeLappe has built two other monumental Gandhi statues from cardboard, one is in the permanent collection of the Guangzhou Museum of Art, China, 2008, the other was built and shown in Mechelin, Belgium and Belfast, Ireland in 2009

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Find Out More

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1. Similar software is available in the @One DataWorks lab and at DataWorks South in the DeLaMare Library. We make available the following software products:

  • 3D Studio Max (DataWorks)
  • SolidWorks (DataWorks & DataWorks South in DeLaMare)
  • Blender (DataWorks & DataWorks South in DeLaMare)
  • Google SketchUp (DataWorks)
  • Rhino 3D (DataWorks South in DeLaMare)

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