As a part of the Dumbo Arts Festival last month, Roopa Vasudevan​ presented a project called "Grillz" in the "Office Hours" exhibition by resident researchers from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. The solid gold mouthpieces were made as visual representations of popular hip-hop songs including "Make It Rain," "Been Around the World," and "Juicy," but the process of creating them is a lot more technical than your average set of shiny tooth jewelry.

Image via Roopa Vasudevan
Image via Roopa Vasudevan

To create the wearable sculptures, Vasudevan used a program called PyGenius from Python to analyze song lyrics and extract "references to extreme poverty—the projects, drug dealing, prostitution—as well as extreme wealth—cars, cash, jewelry and the like." That's where the process got a little more complicated. Vasudevan writes on her website that "mentions in each category are scored according to relative distance from words of the opposite polarity, and the resulting landscape formed is extruded into a 3D shape and printed as wearable grills." 

Here's how the website 3D Print explains the process: "The result was a sort of graphic landscape that was converted to a 3D shape using generative modeling (or landscaping). Vasudevan used Geomerative. With generative modeling, a shape—let’s say, a triangle—is described by a series of processing steps, in language, rather than with forms. The language of hip-hop, of the specific key words that Vasudevan was marking, is translated into the language of geometry." You don't really have to understand the math of it all to appreciate the aesthetics of the pieces and to see the similarities in them caused by the shared vocabulary and themes in most rap songs.

Image via Roopa Vasudevan

[via Animal]

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