The Heist

The Nefertiti 3D Scan Heist Is A Hoax

Posted on March 8, 2016 by cosmowenman

“The New York Times’ March 1, 2016 story “Swiping a Priceless
Antiquity…With a Scanner and a 3-D Printer” by Charly Wilder tells how
two German artists made a surreptitious, unauthorized 3D scan of the
iconic bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum in Berlin.”

“The artists, Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, make a case for
repatriating artifacts to their native countries and use Nefertiti as
their focal point. They also point out that the Neues Museum has made
its own high-quality 3D scan of the bust, and that the museum should
share that data with the public. As a protest, they released their own
scan to the public, and the quality of their scan is extraordinary.”

From Cosmo Wenmen’s article it seems likely that the Nefertiti 3D Scan heist
is both a hoax (the artists quite probably did not capture the artifact in the way
described) and a leak (in that the data is sound but in all probability was sourced

But that said we don’t have to buy into the lament of the final paragraph in
Wenmen’s article in which he opines that it is -unfortunate that this story is based
on a falsehood.- On the contrary in this kind of -media act- the tactical use of fiction
is one of the most powerful tools in the trickster’s arsenal, as the Yes Men demonstrated
on many occassions.

However not any old hoax will do. For fiction to be deployed most effectively it’s moral core
is often based around the concept of -AS IF-. So in this this case we are induced to act AS IF
it were possible (with a small portable scanning device) to capture, disseminate and repatriate
the world’s priceless artifacts.

Media acts like this are -indicative thought experiments- enabling us to pre-mediate (ie prepare
ourselves psychologically) for alternate realities.

Re-posted on nettime with additional commentary by Felix Stalder